May 2012

U.S. Economic Sanctions and Anti-Boycott Laws

International Trademark Association
Paul F. Kilmer

A. Current Sanctions Affecting Trademark Owners

Currently there are either "General Licenses" for intellectual property protection in all nations in relation to which the United States has imposed economic sanctions or such sanctions programs otherwise permit protection of intellectual property rights. Therefore, any U.S. person or entity wishing to protect intellectual property assets in nations such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea or Syria may do so without obtaining a "Specific License" from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury.

B. Current Participants in Unlawful Boycotts

Compliance with or participation in the secondary boycott of Israel by U.S. persons is strictly prohibited. Currently, INTA is unaware of any nations which are enforcing or participating in the secondary boycott of Israel in relation to trademark matters (that is, INTA is unaware of any nations which are requesting completion of unlawful boycott questionnaires or requiring similar types of disclosures, or actions in compliance with, which would result in violation of U.S anti-boycott laws or regulations). However, at any time nations may change their boycott regimes and therefore persons wishing to protect their trademarks outside the United States should review the website of the Department of Commerce's Office of Anti-Boycott Compliance (

Related Insights