Disintegration of the Netherlands Antilles
The Kingdom of The Netherlands will adopt a new structure as from October 10, 2010. The Netherlands Antilles (AN), formed by five Caribbean islands, will be disintegrated; and instead, two new autonomous countries will turn up in this Kingdom.
One of them is Curacao (with approx. 144.000 inhabitants) and the other one St. Maarten (approx. 40.000). These islands follow the steps of Aruba, who has a separate status since 1986.
For Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (BES islands or Caribbean Netherlands), which are the smallest ones (and have 20.000 inhabitants altogether) the change will be more intense, since they will become special municipalities and will fall under the directions of The Netherlands.
Not much has been officially decided regarding intellectual property matters. So far, it can be announced that:
- The current 1995 Trademark Ordinance, the 1995 Trademark Decree and the 200 BIP Regulation will be adapted for all 3 new entities.
- The country code CW has been approved.
- The Registrar confirmed that there is no need to file reconfirmations in Curacao and neither in St. Maarten. All registrations will remain in force in Curacao and in St. Maarten aswell, until the next renewal date. Only upon renewal the trademark owner has to indicate whether he wishes the registration to be renewed in both countries or not. The former fees of the Netherlands Antilles will remain in force for Curacao
In St. Maarten
- The country code NM has been approved.
- It has been finally decided that the Curacao Trademark Office will handle their registrations for the time being, but the official fees has yet to be approved.
In BES Islands (or Caribbean Netherlands)
- The country code BQ has been approved.
- The new Trademark Law will be identical in many aspects to the existing Trademark Law of the Netherlands Antilles. One major difference is that trademark applications will not be examined on absolute grounds
- An application for re-confirmation of existing AN registrations can be filed until October 10th, 2011 and no official fees will have to be paid.
For International Registrations
- All I.R.’s with AN designation will automatically be transformed to Caribbean Netherlands, Curacao and St.Maarten. Trademark owners do not need to take any action
- Not only the Protocol but also the Arrangement of Madrid will be in force for Caribbean Netherlands
- A new website will be created www.caribie.nl (Caribie stands for Caribbean Bureau Intellectual Property) and will be accessible on October 10, 2010.
Last Update: 25.10.2010
Sources: G.A. Winkel SR.N.V. and E-proint