Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998

Status: Pending

Respondent: United States

Complainant(s): European Communities,

Third Parties: Nicaragua, Japan,

Dispute Number: DS176

Link to Dispute Site:

Section 211 addresses the ability to register or enforce, without the consent of previous owners, trademarks or trade names associated with businesses confiscated without compensation by the Cuban government.  The EU questioned the consistency of Section 211 with the TRIPS Agreement, and requested consultations on July 7, 1999.  Consultations were held September 13 and December 13, 1999.  On June 30, 2000, the EU requested a panel.  A panel was established on September 26, 2000, and at the request of the EU the WTO Director-General composed the panel on October 26, 2000.  The Director-General composed the panel as follows: Mr. Wade Armstrong, Chair; Mr. François Dessemontet; and Mr. Armand de Mestral, Members.  The panel report was circulated on August 6, 2001, rejecting 13 of the EU’s 14 claims and finding that, in most respects, section 211 is not inconsistent with the obligations of the United States under the TRIPS Agreement.  The EU appealed the decision on October 4, 2001.  The Appellate Body issued its report on January 2, 2002. 

The Appellate Body reversed the panel’s one finding against the United States, and upheld the panel’s favorable findings that WTO Members are entitled to determine trademark and trade name ownership criteria.  The Appellate Body found certain instances, however, in which section 211 might breach the national treatment and most favored nation obligations of the TRIPS Agreement.  The panel and Appellate Body reports were adopted on February 1, 2002, and the United States informed the DSB of its intention to implement the recommendations and rulings.  The reasonable period of time for implementation ended on June 30, 2005.  On June 30, 2005, the United States and the EU agreed that the EU would not request authorization to suspend concessions at that time, and that the United States would not object to a future request on grounds of lack of timeliness.

Panel Proceedings
Brief Date Brief Description
12/21/2000 U.S. First Written Submission
01/05/2001 Executive Summary of U.S. First Written Submission
01/24/2001 U.S. Opening Oral Statement at the First Panel Meeting
01/24/2001 U.S. Closing Oral Statement at the First Panel Meeting
02/05/2001 U.S. Answers to First Set of Panel Questions
02/15/2001 U.S. Rebuttal Submission
03/07/2001 U.S. Opening Oral Statement at the Second Panel Meeting
03/07/2001 U.S. Closing Oral Statement at the Second Panel Meeting
03/14/2001 U.S. Answers to Second Set of Panel Questions
03/19/2001 Executive Summary of U.S. Oral Statement at the Second Panel Meeting
03/19/2001 Executive Summary of U.S. Rebuttal Submission