The battle lines over trademark protection may be heating up between the US and Cuba. What makes this battle front in the non-military war between the U.S. and Cuba more interesting is that in this case multinational corporations, rather than the belligerent state parties, appear to be both directing and taking the lead. The object for these multinationals is not political, but almost purely economic--the control of a brand name for a liquor that may be exploited to the profit of the winner of the contest. For states the corporation provides a useful proxy for engaging in warfare in the style that has become acceptable now--no human casualties but lots of opportunities for causing political, economic, social and cultural damage through lawfare. For corporations, this provides a means of leveraging corporate power through strategic alliances with states.
(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2011; Barcelona Spain)
Here is a nice example of the way in which polycentric governance--the existence of multiple and autonomous governance units--are now beginning to form alliances for advancing their own, and quite distinct interests. In this case, Cuba and its ally Pernod Ricardi
have engaged the United States and its ally Barcadi
. States remain powerful actors in transnational governance and law remains an import mechanics of control. But one wonders if these actions suggest the ways that states are increasingly de-centered as non-state actors begin to participate in (and in some cases guide) actions once reserved solely to states and law serves as both structure and object in the inter-systemic battles.