Is my trademark still available?

Before you start using your trademark and before you arrange for its protection it is, of course, a good idea to investigate which older trademarks already exist. You can do this in a number of different ways.

How can I search?

The register for Caribbean Dutch trademarks contains all the filed and registered trademarks which are valid in the Caribbean Netherlands. This not only means Caribbean Dutch trademarks but also international trademarks which designate the Caribbean Netherlands.

You can search for trademarks yourself (for free). For Caribbean Dutch trademarks and International registered trademarks that are valid in the Caribbean Netherlands you can search in the CaribIE register

In this way, an indication can be given as to which trademarks are already registered. However, it can never be guaranteed that you will not get into a conflict with a third party. In the first place, rights other than those associated with registered older trademarks can cause problems. This applies particularly to trade names but also, for example, to copyrights or design law. Moreover, it is difficult to predict who might object to your trademark on the basis of which trademark, and your chance of success depends on all the actual and legal circumstances of that particular case.

Do things yourself or get things done by others?

You can hire a trademark agent or a lawyer specialised in intellectual property to do the examination. Specialist knowledge is required to carry out an examination and, more importantly, to interpret the results properly and estimate the risks. A lot of companies do not have the necessary specialist knowledge and it is therefore a good idea for them to seek assistance from an expert. 

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Steven de Lira (EN)

If you are a professionally active company with ambition, trademark registration is a must. Brand names are your company's capital. A unique brand name adds to your company's quality image and adds value. It's not something you want to have any trouble with, and it far outweighs the costs.'

Steven de Lira came to the Netherlands in 1994 from Curaçao to study industrial engineering and management. After graduating, he set up Opensa, a firm specialising in organisational consultancy and SilkBricks, a software company that makes tools designed to accelerate innovation processes within businesses.