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Choose and register your business name
You can find the right name for your business by using your creativity or by conducting market research. Once you have found a suitable name for your business, you should register it with the Bureau of Intellectual Property of Aruba
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. The Government grants a patent only to the intellectual owner. As a result, the patent owner has sole ownership of the innovation. Patent protection is essential for businesses to develop and succeed. Aruba has the Ordinance on the Protection of Investors (“AB” (Official Bulletin) 1997, 29) and the Patent Ordinance 1995, which provide for patent protection.
Which inventions do receive protection?
Not every innovation is an invention. There are criteria for patent application.
The following inventions are entitled to be granted patent protection:
- a unique and new product;
- an improvement of a product already invented;
- a production process or a new one; or
- a production process improvement.
Requirements for a patent
To be granted a patent for an invention, you will also have to meet these requirements:
- New: before the date of submitting the application for a patent to the Bureau of Intellectual Property Aruba, the product or process is not known nor published in any other part of the world, or by the inventor himself or herself, for example, in a brochure.
- Innovative: the invention does not have to be very evident (logic) for a professional or specialist in his field.
- Industrially applicable: the invention must be a product or process of a technical nature that can be sensed by one of the five senses and must function in practice.
Registration and period of validity of a patent
Registration of a patent begins with submitting an application to the Bureau of Intellectual Property of Aruba. After registration, the owner of a patent can claim his or her rights. The patent is granted only within Aruba. The patent owner can choose a maximum period of validity of 6 or 12 years for patent protection. Patent protection for a period of 20 years is possible, but a novelty search, which will take place outside of Aruba, is required.
What are the rights of the owner?
The patent owner (inventor) will acquire the right to grant other companies his or her permission to produce, sell or use his or her invention.
The patent owner can also prohibit others from using his or her invention to make a profit. He or she can ask the court to stop the violation of his or her patent rights or claim damages.
A trademark is a name, a word, a phrase, a symbol, a design or a combination of these used by a person or company to identify and distinguish the origin of a product from other products (AB 1989, GT 46).
Our laws still protect those who use the trademark first in Aruba. This is no longer the case in many countries. Many countries are changing their laws or are in the process of changing their laws to protect the person who registers the trademark first. Aruba will follow suit with a local ordinance revision in the near future. This is necessary because it can be difficult to prove who was the first to use the trademark. As a result, it is a good idea to register a trademark before you start using it.
The Bureau of Intellectual Property allows anyone who is using a trademark they own (rather than a brand they are selling) to register it. Only the owner of a trademark may register it.
If you are a representative of a trademark outside of Aruba, the company from which you are purchasing the product (if that company is the owner) must register the trademark through a local representative (agent). The company will not be able to handle this on its own and will have to enlist the help of an agent in the island of Aruba.
Why protect your trademark?
The protection of your trademark is of great importance. You do not want someone else to use the same name as your trademark and confuse your customers.
Registration and period of validity of a trademark
Your trademark is protected for ten years but it can be renewed every ten years.
For more information about the registration procedure, please visit the Bureau of Intellectual Property or its website: www.opi-aruba.org.
Is it possible to register any trademark? In general, the answer is “yes”. However, the trademark must be unique (not similar to others) and must not be a pre-existing trademark that has already been registered with the Bureau of Intellectual Property.
The law (AB 1989, GT 46) contains some restrictions:
- It is prohibited to use the name “Aruba” in a trademark (if you provide a name that includes the name Aruba, the element “Aruba” will not be protected).
- The trademark may not contain immoral or scandalous content, be in violation of public order or attempt to deceive the public.
- The trademark may not imply a link to an institution, a belief or national symbolism, such as our flag, coat of arms or other symbols.
- The symbols of countries in the Dutch Kingdom may not be used, and people who want to register flags from other countries around the world will not be protected.
Your brand or trademark must stand out; you must be able to distinguish it from others. For example, if you ask to register a black triangle, the trademark will not be registered because it does not provide enough distinction.
However, the answer to the question as to whether or not you can register any trademark is “yes”, taking into account the preceding information.
Apart from the prohibited items listed above, there is still plenty of room to invent a trademark that does not yet exist.
What is a copyright?
According to Article 1 of the Copyright Ordinance (AB. 2003, GT 10), the current text of which is based on Ordinance “PB” (Official Bulletin of the Netherlands Antilles) 1913, 3, a copyright is the exclusive right of the creator of a work of art, literature or science to publish, produce and reproduce his or her work or to allow someone else to do so, except for limitations imposed by law.
This exclusive right is unique, and it belongs only to the creator of the work or his or her heirs. Only the author, as the creator of the work, has the authority to decide whether or not his or her work may be published or reproduced (copy).
What is considered to be a work under the Copyright Ordinance?
Article 10 of this Ordinance contains a non-exhaustive list of what is to be considered a work of literature, science or art. This includes musical compositions that are not accompanied by words.
The list includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Books, brochures, newspapers, magazines and all other documents.
- Theatrical work and musical drama.
- Spoken word and recital.
- Choreographic work and pantomime, the manner of performance of which has been laid down on paper or otherwise.
- Musical work with or without words.
- Paintings, building, sculpture and lithography.
- Geographic maps.
- Drafts, sketches and plastic works relating to technical architecture, geography or any other science.
- Photographic and cinematographic works and works produced by a similar process.
- Works of applied arts.
- In general, any literary, scientific or artistic work that can be multiplied in any way and any form.
Translations, adaptations, musical arrangements and other reproductions in altered form of a literary, scientific or artistic work, as well as collections of different works are protected, without prejudice to the copyright on the original work, as independent works (Art. 10 Copyright Ordinance).
What types of copyrights are there?
When an author is granted a copyright, he or she obtains two types of fundamental rights:
- Economic rights (right of exploitation).
- Moral rights (personality rights).
What are economic rights?
This law allows an author to profit from his or her work. He or she has the right to request payment for the permission he or she gives others to publish or multiply his or her work. Based on the law of inheritance, his or her immediate family could inherit this right. It is also possible for the work’s author to assign the economic rights to another person.
What are moral rights?
Moral rights safeguard the author’s connection to his work. The author’s “moral rights” cannot be transferred to another person. As a result, the author, for example, has the right to oppose:
- publication of his or her work without his or her permission;
- publication under any name other than his or her own;
- changes in his or her work, as well as “touching” it, which can jeopardize the artistic value, as well as his or her honor and reputation.
When will a work receive protection?
By law, a work is already protected simply because it was created.
Your work, such as an article, poem or book, will be protected once you have created it.
In most cases, the copyright is owned by the work’s creator.
What to do if you want to use the work of an author?
The author or copyright holder are the only ones who can grant permission for others to use their work.
It is forbidden to publish or reproduce the work without the author’s permission.
If a person wishes to use another’s work in any way, including modifying, changing, translating or reproducing it, he or she must first obtain permission from the work’s author. This could be the author or a third party who has acquired the copyright by transfer. The beneficiary may give permission under certain conditions. The permission can also be used for non-commercial purposes.
What to do in case of violation of the copyright?
- According to Art. 27 of the Copyright Ordinance, the author has the right to take legal action against those who infringe on his copyright. As a result, if someone violates the author’s copyright, he or she has the right to claim damages.
- Those who violate another’s copyright in violation of Articles 31 and 32 of the Copyright Ordinance may face legal action. The author/heir should file a formal complaint about the infringement of his or her copyright (Art. 33 Copyright Ordinance).
Is the copyright for life?
According to Art. 38, the copyright expires 50 years after the passing away of the creator of the work.
If there are multiple authors, the copyright will expire 50 years after the last author’s death.
There is no need to seek permission 50 years after an author’s death because the work has entered the public domain. Without the permission of the heir, anyone can use the work. However, the author(s) of the work must always be acknowledged.
Is the author obligated to register?
The author obtains the copyright to his or her work from the start of the project. As a result, copyright registration is not required.
In practice, however, another person can pretend to be the author of a work and obtain the work’s copyright.
By registering the author’s work, confusion about the right of the author’s work will be avoided. The author’s certificate of copyright registration issued by the Bureau of Intellectual Property provides additional proof that he or she is the holder of the copyright to the work in question, especially when he or she is taking legal action against infringement of the copyright. Registration in Aruba provides international, even worldwide protection.
How can an author register his or her work with the Bureau of Intellectual Property Aruba?
To register the work of an author, you must submit:
- a registration form that is available at the Bureau of Intellectual Property Aruba or its website: www.opi-aruba.org;
- a copy of the work, including the attachments and illustrations that give a clear description of the work;
- a copy of the ID, license or passport of the author(s); and
- you have to pay an amount of AWG 35.00 for the registration and the certificate of copyright registration.
Contact Bureau Intellectuele Eigendom (BIE)
Oficina di Propiedad Intelectual