Registration of a trademark in the Caribbean Netherlands Register at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) is always automatically valid for the three islands: Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. A Caribbean Netherlands registration enables you to take action if your trademark, or a similar sign, is used or registered by someone else in the island group. You can take action not only against subsequent Caribbean Netherlands trademarks, but also against any trademark that is valid in the Caribbean Netherlands, in other words against international trademarks that are valid in the Caribbean Netherlands.
You can also protect your trademark outside the Caribbean Netherlands. Such protection is advisable if you plan to sell your products and services outside the Caribbean Netherlands. There are various options when it comes to protection outside the Caribbean Netherlands, each of which has its own particular advantages and disadvantages.
How do I make the choice?
The particular trademark registration system you choose will depend on a number of factors. Effective protection is contingent on choosing the system best suited to your specific situation. As a general rule, the protection should match the market in which you operate: it should neither be too narrow nor too broad. It is important to protect your trademark where you are using it and where protection is therefore needed. Protecting it in a larger area can actually bring unnecessary risks, and can even lead to you losing your rights.
Choosing a protection system is therefore an important step in the process. It is advisable to be well informed before you make that choice.
What are the options?
You can choose between a national, international or EU trademark, or a combination thereof.
To obtain a national trademark, you register it with the competent body in the relevant country. This can be a sensible option if you only operate in one or a small number of countries outside the Caribbean Netherlands. However, the costs and time involved can increase considerably if you operate in several countries, as you will need to go through, and pay for, a separate procedure in each country. What is more, communication with each national office is usually in the official language of that office, and it is sometimes mandatory to have a local representative or postal address. More about registering a national trademark
International trademark registration provides protection in countries that are party to the Madrid Protocol, by means of a single application. Thanks to this international agreement, you can obtain protection in a large number of countries reasonably cheaply and easily. An international trademark should, in fact, be seen as a bundle of national trademarks obtained all at once and at a considerably lower cost than if you were to file applications at each office individually. More about registering an international trademark
An EU trademark provides protection in all the countries of the European Union based on a single application. If you operate in a large part of the EU, this may be an attractive option. A downside of an EU trademark is the all-or-nothing rule. There are also risks involved in obtaining, maintaining and enforcing an EU trademark. You can apply for an EU trademark at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). You will require the services of a trademark agent to file your application. More about registering an EU trademark
Should you do it yourself or have a specialist do it?
As you can see, there are various options for protection outside the Caribbean Netherlands. We have tried to outline the pros and cons of the various systems as clearly as possible. Should you have any more questions, please contact our Information Centre: we will be happy to help!
Choosing the form of protection that best suits your situation is, in fact, no simple matter. On top of this, before you register or start using your trademark in other countries, you need to investigate what relevant rights are already held there. Then, having registered your trademark abroad, you ought to monitor matters closely to spot if and when your rights are later impinged upon. Many companies do not have the necessary expertise in house to perform these specialist tasks and so, prudently, retain the services of a professional.