Caribbean Netherlands (BES)

The Caribbean Netherlands became a separate jurisdiction on October 10, 2010, upon dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. The Caribbean Netherlands consist of three islands – Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba – and are also referred to as the BES Islands. Their status is now a special municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

On October 9, 2011, the deadline passed to “confirm” an application that was pending in the Netherlands Antilles so that it would continue in the Caribbean Netherlands, and now all future registrations must be the subject of a fresh application.

The applicable trademarks act provides for registration in the Caribbean Netherlands of trade and service marks in all International Classes, governed by the Nice Classification system. International priority is available, and prior use is not necessary.

Registrations extend for a period of ten years, running from the date of application, and renewals are for like periods of ten years.

Bonaire is located close to Venezuela, some 500 miles south of St. Eustatius and Saba which are only 17 miles apart and are situated in the northeast Caribbean near the Virgin Islands.

The official languages in the Caribbean Netherlands are Dutch, Papiamento, and English. The United States dollar is the official currency.

Further information is available in the two articles (Article 1, Article 2) published by this firm, one in the April 2011 issue of the INTA Bulletin and the other in the March 2011 issue of theITMA Review, published by the Institute of Trade Marks in London.

The Power of Attorney form needs to be signed by an officer of the company and dated, with no additional formality.

History: The Caribbean Netherlands border the North Sea and include three separate municipalities known as the BES islands: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius (or “Statia”), and Saba. Bonaire, the largest of the three islands, is located near the Venezuelan coast. It was first claimed by the Spaniards after being visited by Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. From the 1500s to the 1800s Bonaire was occupied by numerous countries until 1816 when the Dutch reclaimed the land. Its capital is Kralendijk and its economy is boosted by tourism and salt production.

Located southeast of the Virgin Islands, Sint Eustatius was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus but was not settled until the Dutch took over in 1636. Between 1781 and 1784 the island was taken over by the British until the Netherlands regained it. Following the year 1795, Sint Eustatius was handled between the French and the British for twenty years until the Dutch were able to fully gain the island back. A popular activity to do in Sint Eustatius is to climb the dormant volcano known as “The Quill.” Its capital is Oranjestad.
Formed at the top of a volcano, Saba is southwest of St. Maarten and is the smallest of the three islands. Discovered in 1493, this island was originally inhabited by Ciboney Indians until 1632 when shipwrecked Europeans washed up on Saba’s coast. The island was sought after by many colonial rulers but was officially controlled by the Dutch in 1816. Saba’s capital is The Bottom and is also known as the “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean.”

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