Beacon files a lawsuit on behalf of baseball legend Roberto Clemente’s family in a property rights case.

la familia de Roberto Clemente

Fighting Back Against Trademark Theft: The Roberto Clemente Family v. Government of Puerto Rico.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee filed an appeal on behalf of the Clemente family challenging the Puerto Rican government’s improper and unconstitutional use of baseball legend Roberto Clemente’s trademark on specialty license plates. Immediately afterwards, the Puerto Rico Institute for Economic Liberty (ILE for its acronym in Spanish) filed an amicus brief supporting the legal action of the Clemente family.

ILE filed an amicus brief due to the implications of this governmental action, which deprives the Clemente family of fundamental property rights protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. The image rights of this national hero in Puerto Rico, born and raised in the San Antón barrio of Carolina, are private property of his family, and private property is inseparable from economic freedom.

The Government of Puerto Rico earned approximately $15 million dollars from the unauthorized use of Roberto Clemente’s trademark without permission from his three children and refused to compensate them for this unauthorized use. The legal appeal by the Beacon Center of Tennessee against the Puerto Rican government aims to set a precedent in the United States regarding rightful compensation when the government takes or uses someone’s private property, whether intellectual or physical, without permission.

Beacon Director of Legal Affairs Wen Fa stated, “We’re honored to represent Roberto Clemente’s family and legacy in a case to protect the rights of property owners nationwide. We’re asking the court to apply the “you-break-it-you-buy-it” rule to the government. If the government takes your property, it should have to pay.”

On his part, ILE’s Legal Affairs Director, Arturo V. Bauermeister, stated: “We understood it was essential as a Puerto Rican civil organization and free market think tank to file an amicus brief in this case and express our concern about the Government of Puerto Rico’s actions against the right to private property. If they did this to the Clemente family, they could do it to anyone.”

Luis Clemente, son of the late Puerto Rican hero, noted, “Our family has worked hard to ensure that the Roberto Clemente trademark protects his legacy as a humanitarian and advocate for justice. It was wrong for the Government of Puerto Rico to tarnish the trademark, and we look forward to vindicating our rights on appeal.”

You can read more about the lawsuit and the amicus brief here.


Mark Cunningham (Lawsuit) | • 610-764-9538
Arturo V. Bauermeister (Amicus Brief) | • 787-402-7486

About the Beacon Center of Tennessee

The Beacon Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent organization dedicated to providing expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. At the Beacon Center, we are changing lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. By putting policy over politics, we have successfully pushed for bold reforms in education, healthcare, economic regulation, and tax policy, among many others. For more information, please visit, @BeaconTN/ on Facebook, @beacon_tn on Instagram or @Beacon Center of Tennesse on LinkedIn.

About the Puerto Rico Institute for Economic Liberty

The Institute for Economic Liberty (ILE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization created with the genuine desire to ensure that everyone on the Island has equal opportunities to unleash their maximum potential and create their own success. We believe that effort and merit should be rewarded and prosperity should be driven by people’s creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation. We want to live in a Puerto Rico where everyone can be empowered to achieve their goals and progress in a free and open society. You can learn more about ILE at, as well as on Facebook and Instagram @ilepuertorico.

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