On October 10, 2010, the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist as a political entity. Of the five Caribbean islands that formed the Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao and Saint Maarten have become autonomous states within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba are now part of the Netherlands as special municipalities (the BES Countries).
Benelux Trademark Law will not be in force in the BES Countries. A new Trademark Law for the BES countries has been approved and the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property, has been appointed to manage the Trademark Register for the these countries. We await further information as to the processing of trademark applications.
Owners of Netherland Antillean trademark registrations have one year to file maintenance applications (i.e.: until October 10, 2011) for the BES Countries.
At present, International trademark registrations are not affected by this change as it is anticipated that the current international trademark rights in the Netherlands Antilles will be converted into national registrations for the BES Countries, Curaçao and St. Maarten.
Curaçao and St Maarten will also have their own Trademark Law and maintain their own Trademark Registers. The present timetable is unknown, but we shall provide updates as they are available.
The new country of Curaçao is known as Korsou in Papiamentu. St Maarten shares an island with the French oversees territory of St. Martin.
Aruba, which left the Netherlands Antilles in 1986, remains independent and continues as an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.