So as an entrepreneur you developed a product or a service, you are ready to launch or have already launched and are now ready to spread your wings and market into places like Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius (or not), here a few things you ought to keep in mind:
1. The islands of the Dutch Caribbean consist of 4 separate and distinct jurisdictions for trademark purposes.
2. Having a trademark registered in one of the islands doesn’t give you protection in the other islands.
3. Having a trademark registered in the Netherlands doesn’t (necessarily) give you protection in the other islands.
4. The basis for trademark protection differs among the islands. Aruba is based on the “right of first use”. While in some of the other islands it is based on “first to file”.
5. The cost/fee structure is variable from island-to-island. Some of the government fees were recently implemented while others are dated and are subject to change when the government feels the need to adapt the government fees.
6. Exclusive agency or distribution agreement does not provide you with exclusive rights to sell a product i.e. parallel-import isn’t prohibited.
7. Even if you don’t intend to sell or market your product in the islands, you are well served by having the right trademark a/o copyright protection in place. The presence of free (trade) zones in the islands and in the region along with the geographical location can make the islands vulnerable for transshipment of counterfeit products.
8. Aruba is a great location to base your intellectual property portfolio and manage this throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
9. We offer a sound legal system, highly effective and experienced courts who understand the value of intellectual property matters.
10. My team is not only well-versed at handling trademark registration matters but have a track record on enforcement matters and litigation, with a number of landmark cases at the Supreme Court of The Hague.
11. Ooh.... and did I mention we speak all the (6) languages that are used in the region.
Lincoln D. Gomez