On 5 November 2015, the new and long awaited Bureau of Intellectual Property St. Maarten (BIP SXM) finally opened its doors. Pursuant to new legislation a month earlier the BIP SXM had already launched online, making it the official agency responsible for the implementation of the National Ordinance on Trademarks (in Dutch: Merkenlandsverordening) as well as providing information to the public on intellectual property.

BIP SXM (in cooperation with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) located in The Netherlands) now offers trademark registration for both national and international trademarks. Filings are done by the official St. Maarten recognized trademark representatives. In practice, the BOIP registers the St. Maarten trademarks, acting as a back office for BIP SXM.

For the avoidance of a doubt, a Benelux trademark registration will not also be valid for St. Maarten and vice versa. The BOIP merely facilitates the administrative process for St. Maarten trademarks, which in itself are separate rights for a separate jurisdiction (namely St. Maarten; for the Benelux you would need a separate filing with the BOIP).

On 10 October 2010 (10-10-10), the island of St. Maarten became an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Prior to 10-10-10 the bureau of Intellectual Property of Curacao (BIP CW) was the competent authority in terms of the registration and renewal of trademarks in the Netherlands Antilles. Post 10-10-10, a 5 year transition period was agreed upon, pursuant to which BIP CW would continue to carry out St. Maarten registrations and renewals until 10 October 2015, after which St. Maarten would become responsible for its own trademark registration.

Now the BIP SXM has officially been open to the public the BIP SXM registration forms can be filed online or at their office. Please note that any applications filed with BIP CW on or after 1 October 2015 will not be processed and must be submitted to BIP SXM, using the new forms. Also, different fees may be applicable then before. The list of applicable fees, as of 1 October 2015, can be provided to you by our trademarks team upon request.

If you would like more information on registered national and international trademarks, BIP SXM now provides an online register, which can be found here.

As always, VANEPS is happy to assist you and continues to provide trademark registration and renewal services for the entire Dutch Caribbean. Please feel free to contact our trademarks registration team at trademarks@vaneps.com. For further information on trademarks and intellectual property generally in the Dutch Caribbean, please contact Molly Steward.

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