On November 7, 2013, the IIT Chicago-Kent Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS) hosted its Third Annual Gastro-Intellectual Property Law Symposium. This year’s conference focused on “Taste Embargo: What Will Happen When the Cuban Embargo Is Lifted?” The Gastro-IP conference is a signature event of IPLS that analyzes pressing issues at the intersection of IP and food.
Intellectual property experts analyzed a range of issues related to intellectual property and the U.S. embargo of Cuban goods, including cigars, rum, and coffee. The WTO decision involving Havana Club Rum—and the U.S.’s failure to correct its violations of the TRIPS Agreement for over a decade—were discussed at length, as well as how 5,000 U.S. companies have managed to register trademarks in Cuba.
Professor Christopher Buccafusco moderated the discussion before a packed audience. Panelists Judith Grubner of Arnstein & Lehr LLP, Joseph Schmidt of Shefsky & Froelich, and Mariano Municoy of Moeller IP Advisors in Argentina discussed the history of the embargo, some of the litigation that has occurred since the embargo went into effect, and what might happen when the embargo ends. A reception followed the lively talk as attendees enjoyed catering provided by 90 Miles Cuban Cafe as well as Cuba Libres and other drinks.