The Netherlands Antilles is ceasing to function as one jurisdiction, with Curaçao and St Maarten becoming autonomous countries in their own right. The three smaller islands of Bonaire. St Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands) will become municipalities of The Netherlands. The jurisdictions will formally split on 10 October 2010.

Within 12 months of this date, all existing Netherlands Antilles registrations will have to be confirmed with the Trade Mark Offices of Curaçao and St Maarten if protection is to be maintained in these jurisdictions. In order to maintain protection in the BES islands, Netherlands Antilles registrations will have to be confirmed at the Benelux Trade Mark Office although, curiously, the current 1995 Trade Marks Ordinance will remain in force in the BES islands as well. 

To date, St Maarten, the Dutch section of the Caribbean island of St Martin, has been part of The Netherlands, and has been covered by Benelux registrations, CTM registrations, and International Registrations designating Benelux. St Maarten has now been advised by Curaçao to set up a Trade Mark Office of its own, but has declined to say whether it will do so.

Owners of International Registrations designating the Netherlands Antilles will be contacted by WIPO, which will advise them of the re-confirmation procedures to be followed.

It remains to be seen how this will work in practice, and presently there is no indication as to what the fees will be. Further information will be posted as soon as it is available.