A trademark owner can only claim exclusive rights to a trademark if the concerned trademark is duly registered for St. Maarten with the Bureau of Intellectual Property (BIP, in Dutch: Bureau voor Intellectuele Eigendom). To be registrable, a trademark must be capable of graphic representation and of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. The BIP cannot object to the registration of a trademark based on older rights. The current legislation does not provide for an opposition procedure with the BIP. Protection of a trademark lasts for ten years following the date of application. A registration is renewable for a successive ten year period.
In case of infringement the following remedies may be granted, if brought before the Court by the owner of a trademark that has been registered with the BIP:
- Injunctive relief;
- Payment of profits;
- Seizure or destruction of the infringing goods;
- Provision of information on suppliers and/or customers; and
- Cancellation of the trademark registration.
Furthermore, upon the request of any interested party, the Court may declare the right to a trademark to be null and void insofar as:
- During an uninterrupted period of five years , and without valid reasons, no normal use of the mark was made in Curacao with respect to the goods or services for which the trademark was registered;
- After having been duly acquired, the trademark becomes genericized (i.e. the trademark becomes the generic/common name for, or synonymous with, the product or services with which is associated) and the trademark owner has failed to prevent such use; or
- The trademark is used in such a manner, in relation to products and services which are identical or similar to the products and services the registration covers, that it may confuse and mislead the public, primarily with respect to the nature, quality or geographical origin.
Please see our Trademark Guide St. Maarten for more information on the prosecution and enforcement of trademarks.