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December 1, 2010 Vol. 65 No. 21 Back to Bulletin Main Page

NETHERLANDS: Constitutional Changes Affecting International Registrations

On October 10, 2010, the Netherlands Antilles, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, ceased to exist as a separate country within the Kingdom and was split up into three different territories: Curaçao; Saint Martin; and a territory formed of the isles of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba.

The constitutional changes within the Kingdom of the Netherlands affect trademark laws and existing and pending trademark registrations and applications for registration, as the Netherlands government stated in a declaration deposited with WIPO. Each of the three new territories will have new trademark legislation. The Madrid Protocol, which applied to the Netherlands Antilles, will continue to apply to the three individual territories. The most important consequences of the changes can be summarized as follows.

Existing International Registrations designating the Netherlands Antilles, and pending applications for such registration, that were notified before October 10, 2010 will be recorded free of charge in all three territories; no action by the trademark owner is required. The legislation of the territory in question will apply. For an International Registration designating the Netherlands Antilles that was notified prior to October 10, 2010, to the trademark office of the former Netherlands Antilles, the offices of the new territorial entities will abide by the refusal period provided for by Article 5(2)(a) of the Madrid Protocol, namely one year from the date of the aforesaid notification.

International applications filed after October 10, 2010 can designate the three territories individually, and holders of International Registrations can subsequently designate these territories under the Madrid Protocol. The time limit for refusal in each of the three territories will be that of Article 5(2)(a) of the Madrid Protocol (i.e., one year from the date on which the notification of the designation was sent to the corresponding trademark office by the International Bureau of WIPO). With respect to the three new territorial entities, standard fees will be payable in respect of any designation of the territories concerned, for as long as any declaration made by the Kingdom of the Netherlands concerning the fees has not entered into force.

International applications or subsequent designations that designate the Netherlands Antilles filed after October 10, 2010 will be deemed by WIPO not to have included such designation of the Netherlands Antilles, and, accordingly, the fees paid with respect to such designation will be refunded. International applications that exclusively designate the former Netherlands Antilles and that otherwise would have resulted in a date of registration later than October 10, 2010, will be deemed irregular under Rules 11(4)(a)(ii) and 15 of the Common Regulations under the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.


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© 2010 International Trademark Association