What’s in a Trade Name? Points to take into Consideration

Aruba has no legislation regarding trade names. There is one in the pipeline, designed after meetings held in 1991-1992, but the legislation itself has not yet been discussed or approved by the Parliament of Aruba. Nevertheless, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Aruba has to take into consideration the requirements to conceive a trade name before the company can be registered. Trade names can have local or even international implications that could affect your business. It is important to consider the implications of a trade name and to think it through because changing the name of a business can bring about unnecessary costs. Furthermore, you do not want to infringe other people’s rights.

Your Trade Name
Your trade name defines the identity of your business. A company might choose or might be forced to use a trade name other than the name under which the business has been registered as a legal entity. In order to conduct the company’s operations a trade name can be practical. It can help customers to identify the business better or generate sales as a brand.

Depending on the business the trade name for your entity needs to have certain characteristics. Some of these characteristics are important regardless of your business intentions. It may not mislead the public and yet it has to be unique. A trade name should not resemble or be identical to another (well) known or registered brand or trade mark. This would have legal consequences due to infringement of exclusive rights belonging to the original mark. It is important to be protected and to avoid creating problems by choosing a wrong trade name.

A clear distinction has to be made between trade name, trademark, and service mark. A trade name indicates the entity doing business while a trademark or service mark distinguishes the source of goods or service of an individual or an enterprise from those of others. Words, logos, slogans, mottos, names, letters, numbers, symbols, emblems, shapes, designs, packaging features, color combinations, animations, figurative elements, combinations of those signs, and sounds can all be used as trademarks or service marks.

“Every request to start a business is investigated by the Chamber, hence the trade name as well”

Registration of your Trade Name
The Bureau of Intellectual Property of Aruba (BIE) is the official entity responsible for the registration of trademarks and service marks in Aruba since November 1987. Previous to their establishment, all registrations for protection of any type of mark in Aruba were registered by the Bureau of Intellectual Property of the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao.In order to protect your business and investment you might want to register your trade name at the BIE. A trade name can be registered in the same way as you register a trade mark. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for this process. The price for submission at the BIE is AWG 275. If you need an immediate registration, there is a fast process for submitting which costs AWG 350. A standard submission takes about a month while the fast process makes it happen within five working days. Once the admittance of your trade name is approved and completed, it can be registered and this will cost AWG 275. The registration of a trade name is valid for ten years. For an extension of the registration period or renewal of the registration you will need to pay AWG 550. It is important to know that a trade name is protected only locally and has no international power.

Every request to start a business is investigated by the Chamber, hence the trade name as well. This routine check includes a search within the registry of the Chamber and consulting with external sources both locally and internationally.

A few Pointers
Make sure you contact the Chamber or BIE to find out whether a trade name is already in use or is being processed. Keep in mind that there are costs involved whenever you consult the BIE. To be save, it is advised to have at least three other options for a trade name which you can use when you are starting your business. By doing so you’ll save yourself trips to register your business. A trade name may not be the same or similar to an existing one, uniqueness is a key element. Furthermore, the name
should be clear and relatable to the purpose of the business. It may not create any confusion about other local or renowned international companies. In case the company is a franchise entity, the name must be supported by the approval of the franchise through a contract indicating how the trade name will be used. The length (number of characters) of the trade name is also important, because it defines the complexity of the trade name.If you want more information on trade names, feel free to contact the Chamber of Commerce or call the BIE at 583-1200 or send an email to opi@aruba.gov.aw.

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