What do the ™ and ® signs mean?
The symbol ™ (trademark) is sometimes used when a trademark has been filed (applied for) but not yet registered.
As soon as the trademark has been definitively registered, the ® symbol is used. This stands for 'registered trademark'. In Sint Maarten, there is no obligation to use these signs. Neither have any rules been laid down to govern the use of these symbols. Therefore, you may use them provided they refer to a registered trademark. They must not be used in a misleading way.
What signs cannot be trademarks?
There are several legal reasons why a sign cannot be a trademark. The court can decide that a trademark is not valid for any one of these reasons and declare it to be null and void. The following is an explanation of the main reasons for nullification, the so-called grounds for exclusion.
1. The sign is not distinctive. This is the most common ground for exclusion. A trademark is a sign which distinguishes company's goods or services. For example: Don’t register Orange to sell Oranges. More information on a Lack of distinctive character here.
2. The sign is deceptive: A logo showing, for example, coffee cannot be registered and used for something else (such as tea or juice) because this could then deceive or mislead the public.
3. There are several specific grounds for exclusion apply to shape marks. These are intended to avoid any overlapping with other intellectual property rights (such as design- and patent law).
4. The filed trademark consists of flags, arms and other official emblems of states or international organizations which are registered in accordance with Article 6 of the Paris Convention. This type of trademark can only be registered after permission has been granted by the state or organization in question.
5. The trademark is contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality. In practice this is very rare.
In accordance with the trademark law of Sint Maarten, these marks must be rejected for registration by BIP SXM or can be contested in court after it has been registered.
What can I register as a trademark?
The legal definition of a trademark is very broad: trademarks are all signs which distinguish a company's goods (products) or services. The following are a few examples:
1. Word marks: The name by which a product or service is on the market.
2. Device marks: Logos and labels as well as, for example, words in a special font or presented in a special layout (a logo which includes a name).
3. Shape marks: In certain cases, the (three-dimensional) shape of a product or packaging can be a trademark (for example a specially designed bottle of perfume).
4. Color marks: In exceptional cases, even a single color or a combination of colors can be a trademark. This is the case when people recognize a certain product or service by its color.
5. Sound marks: An advertising jingle is sometimes so well known that when people hear it they immediately know what it refers to. In such cases the sound may be regarded as a trademark and eligible for registration (in the form of a musical stave).
In practice, 99% of registered trademarks belong to categories 1 (word marks) or 2 (device marks). However, it is also true that not all signs can be trademarks.
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a sign that distinguishes your products or services from those of your competitors. Your business and your products and/or services have a sign which consist of a name or a logo or a combination of the two. These are your trademarks. They point consumers and other customers in the direction of your products and services, symbolize and represent your company and are a financial asset.
Registering your trademark in the Sint Maarten register at BIP SXM gives you the exclusive right to use the trademark for certain goods (products) and services within Sint Maarten, for a(n) (extendable) period of 10 years.
Do you wish to prevent other from misusing your trademark? Protection of your trademark is obtained by registration. For Sint Maarten, this means visiting the Bureau for Intellectual Property Sint Maarten. Visit our website www.bip.sx for more information.
Who can file an i-Envelope?
Anyone can file an i-Envelope at BIP SXM. You can be an artist, a writer, a musician, a software developer, a poet, an inventor, a professional, a graphic designer, an architect, a cartoonist, a choreographer, a cinematographer, a fashion designer, a screenwriter and the list goes on.
The i-Envelope is an excellent, affordable, reliable, fast and easy method for recording your idea(s) and proving your date of creation. It can serve as evidence in and out of court in the event of a dispute between potential partners or even strangers. It is important to note that the i-Envelope in itself does not offer any intellectual property right.
What is an i-Envelope?
The i-Envelope is a legal means of proof that issues a date stamp for your idea or creation. It allows you to prove that your idea or creation already existed on a certain date.
The i-Envelope contains two compartments. In each compartment, place an identical document (by means of paper, CD, USB-stick or other means) that describes your idea or creation as clearly as possible. Then return both compartments to BIP SXM. At BIP SXM your i-Envelope will be dated upon receipt. Both compartments will receive a seal and date stamp. One compartment will be returned to you, and the other will be stored in our archive. You have a one-time only right to ask us to produce this second compartment as a means of evidence, for example, in the case of a dispute.
However, be aware that the i-Envelope in itself does not offer any intellectual property right. It can serve as evidence in and out of court in the event of a dispute between potential partners or even strangers.
Do I need a trademark representative?
If you wish, you can submit the registration of your trademark(s) yourself. However, you should not forget that all kinds of practical and legal issues play a role in providing optimal protection of your trademark(s). Trademark law is a specialist field and a lot of companies do not have the necessary expertise available. It is therefore recommended to seek advice from a trademark representative.
For trademarks representatives registered with BIP SXM click this link -> http://bit.ly/2jWj8jW
What is a trademark representative?
A trademark representative in St. Maarten is:
1. an attorney at law or notary practicing in Sint Maarten;
2. a professional in the field of trademarks established in Sint Maarten and registered as such at the Chamber of Commerce Sint Maarten;
3. employed by a company established in Sint Maarten that specializes in trademarks and the registration thereof and registered as such at the Chamber of Commerce Sint Maarten.
These representatives are thoroughly familiar with the relevant legislation and the related case law and literature, which means they can help you plan how best to acquire protection and carry out all the administrative tasks on your behalf. They can also administer your trademarks portfolio and assist you in any disputes that might arise. For trademarks representatives registered with BIP SXM click this link -> http://bit.ly/2jWj8jW.
Nice classification: what is it and how does it work?
When you are filling in the application form to register a trademark for Sint Maarten, you are requested (under 10) to provide a list of goods and/or services. The form gives you space to write down the class number(s) and the description. This list of goods and/or services is based on the Nice Classification, which is established by the Nice Agreement of 1957. This system classifies goods and services for the purpose of registering trademarks. The system groups products into 45 classes (classes 1-34 pertain to goods and classes 35-45 to services) and allows users seeking to trademark a good or service to choose from these classes as appropriate. The system makes applying for trademarks internationally a more streamlined process and is specified by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). (See also: http://www.wipo.int/classifications/nice/en/). When registering a trademark, you must specify the class numbers as well as describe the specific goods and services within the relevant class. You can do so in two ways: 1. Use the standard class numbers and standard description, as specified in the appendix. Example: Cl 35 Advertising; management of commercial affairs; business administration; administrative services. 2. Use the standard class numbers and provide your own description of the specific goods and services in question. Example: Cl 35 Advertising and advertising consultancy; advertisement design; technical consulting services for advertising campaigns; the management of commercial affairs; market research and consultancy; marketing and marketing consultancy services; the development, elaboration and implementation of advertising campaigns and other promotional activities and projects. If your goods and/or services are classified under more than three classes, you will be required to pay an additional fee for each additional class.
How can I protect my business plan?
First concepts of a work cannot always be protected, but the ‘final’ result, when the concept has been materialized, can obtain protection under copyright law. In the case of a business plan there are, however, more circumstances to consider, as rights to a business plan cannot be obtained by registration. Based on the type of business plan, you might want to keep it a secret until it is fully implemented. Also, the business plan might not yet be fully developed or is still part of negotiations with your business partner(s). Therefore, it is recommendable to record the date the business plan was created so that, if your (copy)rights are challenged, you have a more defensible right.
This is what the i-Envelope aims to do. In the i-Envelop you can put almost anything in any form. The business plan you would like to record with the i-Envelope can be in any stage of development. The i-Envelope will be provided with a seal and a date stamp, so that you can prove that your business plan already existed on a certain date.
How can I protect my idea?
Abstract ideas or the first concept of a creation cannot always be protected, but the final result, when the idea or concept has been materialized, it can obtain protection. However, when creations fall under the copyright system, there is no registration process. Copyright is not obtained by registration, but is established automatically by law as soon as a work is created, provided that said work is original. It gives the creator of an original work the exclusive right to publish and/or duplicate the work. Therefore, it is recommendable to record the date the work was created so that, if your copyright is challenged, you have a more defensible right.
This is what the i-Envelope aims to do. In the i-Envelop you can put almost anything in any form. The work you would like to record with the i-Envelope can be in any stage of development. The i-Envelope will be provided with a seal and a date stamp, so that you can prove that your idea or creation already existed on a certain date.
What should or could I do if someone infringes on my IP right(s)?
Considering the Bureau has no authority or legal instruments to conduct any procedures in case of infringement, a law suit will have to be filed with the civil court by the owner of the intellectual property rights. Before going to court, however, the owner may try to settle or negotiate with the party that is suspected of infringing on the intellectual property rights. If that does not resolve matters, the case can be brought before the Court of First Instance in order to obtain a ruling. In any case, it is highly recommendable to consult with a lawyer prior to taking legal action.
How does the i-Envelope help with my copyright?
What the i-Envelope aims to do, is to record the date the work was created. It does not create the copyright, but it serves to proof it. So if your copyright is challenged, you have a more defensible right. The work is saved in the i-Envelope, which is provided with a seal and a date stamp. That way you can prove that your idea or creation already existed on a certain date. The date stamp issued by the Bureau can be compared to the date stamp of the tax inspectorate or a notarial deed.
What can I put in an i-Envelope?
You can use the i-Envelope to record almost anything, for example your idea, concept, business plan, song, invention, movie script, contracts, other type of documents and more. Abstract ideas or the first concept of a creation cannot always be protected, but the final result, when the idea or concept has been materialized, can obtain protection. However, when creations fall under the copyright system, there is no registration process. Copyright is not obtained by registration, but is established automatically by law as soon as a work is created, provided that said work is original. It gives the creator of an original work the exclusive right to publish and/or duplicate the work. Therefore, it is recommendable to record the date the work was created so that, if your copyright is challenged, you have a more defensible right. To serve this, you can put almost anything in the i-Envelope in any form. Whether it be in paper form or any type of (electronic) data carrier. The work you would like to record with the i-Envelope can be in any stage of development. May it be the first few lyrics to a song or the first draft of a logo to an almost completed software application or fully developed business plan.
How do I get an internationally protected Trademark?
An International trademark is registered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. However, an International application must always be based on a basic application (for example a Sint Maarten trademark), and is therefore always handled by the office of origin. If a Sint Maarten trademark is used as the basic application, the office of origin will then be BIP SXM. The Bureau will verify whether your International application is in order, and whether it is identical to your Sint Maarten basic registration. The Bureau will then forward your International application to WIPO. Once you have completed the necessary forms, you can send or email them to our office. The fees payable are partly determined by the number of countries for which you would like to obtain protection.
Will my Trademark also have protection internationally?
When filing a national trademark registration, the protection only stretches to Sint Maarten (Dutch side), as it has its own jurisdiction. Therefore, to obtain protection internationally, an application for an international trademark registration must be filed.
What is the difference between the registration of the trade name at the Chamber of Commerce and the registration of the Trademark at the BIP, in regards to the scope of protection?
The registration of your trade name with the Chamber of Commerce is different from the registration of your trademark with BIP. The main objective of the Chamber of Commerce is to register your company, whereas the main objective with BIP is to register your trade name, under which you wish to provide certain goods and/or services. The protection of your trade name, when not being registered as a trademark, falls under the general scope of the unlawful act, meaning that when your trade name is infringed upon, the infringement has to be proven based on an unlawful act. When the trade name is registered as a trademark, the scope of protection extends to trademark law, which gives you a wider protection in the event of infringement. Taken into consideration the burden of proof is lower for the trademark holder and grounds for infringement are more extensive. This gives the trademark holder a stronger right to enforce his trade name.
Do I still need to register my Trademark if I already registered my trade name with the Chamber of Commerce?
The registration of your business and trade name with the Chamber of Commerce does not mean that your trade name is (automatically) registered with BIP. These are two separate entities with different tasks and responsibilities. Where the Chamber of Commerce has its focus to make the registration of your business in order, the focus of BIP is to handle your trademark registration, which will provide the trademark protection in Sint Maarten. And where the Chamber of Commerce is the designated entity in Sint Maarten to register your company, BIP is the only legal entity where you can register your trademark. Therefore, if you wish to have your trade name to be registered as a trademark as well, we recommend you to visit our website or office in order to file your trademark registration.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a sign that distinguishes your products or services from those of others. Registering your trademark gives you the exclusive right to use it for certain goods (products) and services within Sint Maarten, and can protect your brand by restricting others from using it. A strong trademark can give your business a great, marketable value.
Signs that can be protected as trademarks include word marks (names, slogans) and figurative marks (logos, images), but also shapes (bottles, packaging), colors and sounds. When filing a national trademark registration, the protection only stretches to Sint Maarten (Dutch side), as Sint Maarten it has its own jurisdiction.