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Executives of Invest Caribbean, the 11-year-old global private sector investment agency of the Caribbean, were forced this week to enforce their trademark against Salaudeen Nausrudeen and partners, who are promoted as three Caribbean heads of state.
ICN, which owns the mark, was forced on August 22, 2022, to send a cease-and-desist letter to the operators of a website launched by Salaudeen Nausrudeen. The site publicly promoted support of the governments of the Republic of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. In addition, named partners: Caribbean Development Bank, CARICOM DEVELOPMENT FUND and Republic Financial Holdings Limited. ICN is demanding the immediate removal and end of future use of its copyright trademark “Invest Caribbean” – from the public domain.
The images of these three Caribbean leaders were used on the infringing site.
INVEST CARIBBEAN is a trade mark owned by ICN LLC and is accessible publicly via the domains: investcaribbeannow.com and investcaribbean.today. Use of the company’s name in any form, without the company’s permission, is a violation of US trademark laws.
But that did not stop Nausrudeen, who along with the heads of state of the Republic of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, brazenly launched the fake “Invest Caribbean” during the Agri Investment Forum & Expo II in Trinidad over the weekend of August 21st, to “serve the investment needs of CARICOM.”
Invest Caribbean founder and CEO of ICN Group, Felicia J. Persaud, said she was shocked on Monday, August 22nd, to receive news articles from Guyana asking if they had launched in Trinidad because of the blatant infringement by Nausrudeen and his partners.
Persaud, a Caribbean immigrant and US citizen entrepreneur, said while the domain and name were removed on August 23rd per the cease and desist and a complaint filed as well with the web hosting company, the site was relaunched as ‘CaribInvestors’ on August 24th, with the same look and the pictures of the President of Guyana, Irfaan Ally, and the Prime Ministers of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, Mia Mottley and Keith Rowley on the home page, as it was on the infringing site. However, the site still carried another colossal infringement – “© 2022 InvestCaribbean. All Rights Reserved” – on the bottom of its home page as of today.
The website has listed Bridgetown, Barbados as its location and has a Barbados number and an apparent alliance to Invest Barbados, since calling the number resulted in someone answering the phone as Invest Barbados. Invest Barbados’ CEO, Kaye-Anne Greenidge, was also the first to respond to ICN on its Cease-and-Desist order, to offer “sincerest apologies for any infringement that may have inadvertently occurred.”
Nausrudeen, who has now jumped from communications company owner and Guyana booking engine creator, into the Caribbean investment space, has claimed the whole sale copying of ICN’s brand name was “purely coincidental” in his email response. Incidentally, his Instagram handle is “@goinvestguyana,” a reference to the Guyana Investment agency which has no listing of Nausrudeen on its staff.
ICN says it will also be filing a formal complaint with the US State Department Office Of Intellectual Property Enforcement on the violation of its intellectual property rights as an American company with a US global trademark.
“For three Caribbean governments, Republic Bank, CDB and CARICOM to be associated with such a blatant fraud speaks volumes of the way business is done in this region,” said Persaud. “It is exactly why many investors are wary of investing in the Caribbean region and many project developers have a nightmare securing funding to build their projects in this region.” (South Florida Caribbean News)