Statement by NFTC President Bill Reinsch on the Introduction of S. 1806 to Repeal Section 211

Wednesday, 18 July 2007
“We applaud the efforts of Senators Leahy, Craig, Bingaman and Roberts, who continue to demonstrate great leadership in working to restore a level playing field to legal battles over trademark rights,” said Reinsch. “Section 211 is a special interest measure that discriminates against certain Cuban trademarks by preventing their registration and recognition by U.S. courts.  Section 211 was not considered by any Congressional committee, and it was found to violate WTO rules for protecting trademarks over five years ago.” 

“NFTC members are concerned that maintaining this violation of both WTO rules and the Inter-American Convention for Trademarks and Commercial Protection will encourage the Cuban government to discriminate against the thousands of American trademarks registered in Cuba by hundreds of U.S. companies.  The Leahy-Craig bill would restore to U.S. courts the full authority to decide trademark disputes and deprive Castro of any basis for such discrimination,” Reinsch continued. 

He concluded, “Unlike halfway measures, the Leahy-Craig bill would clean up the entire problem created by Section 211 almost 10 years ago.  By repealing Section 211 in its entirety, the Leahy-Craig bill would bring the United States into compliance with its obligations under the WTO TRIPS Agreement and the more demanding standards of the Inter-American Convention for Trademarks and Commercial Protection.  It is also important to note that the Leahy-Craig bill would not settle any pending trademark disputes.  It would merely return them to the courts where they belong.”

Over a dozen Senators and 60 House members have co-sponsored legislation that would repeal Section 211 in the current Congress.


USA*Engage ( is a coalition of small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. Established in 1997 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (, USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy world wide.

The National Foreign Trade Council ( is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.