Companies listed in the Commercial Register have the option of adding one or more trade names. A trade name may differ from the official name of the business. The official name is recorded in the Articles of Association and cannot be changed very easily (unless the Articles of Association are amended by a civil-law notary). As a business, you can help the general public distinguish between your operations with trade names, for example, by using different trade names for different operations.

Check the trade name

In some cases, certain trade names are prohibited or not recommended. For instance, if a trade name is identical to one that is already listed in the Bonaire register (or looks very similar), we recommend you choose another name. The same applies to well-known and/or protected names. For instance, we advise not using the names Apple, Samsung, Shell, McDonalds, etc. even though those company names are not listed in the Bonaire register. Those names are registered trade names and consequently protected by law. If you do choose a name like that, however, you can expect legal consequences to follow very soon, from a company whose name you are using.

You can ask the Chamber of Commerce to check the trade name you have chosen; this service costs 30 USD. When a legal entity (e.g. a private/public company or a foundation) is incorporated at a civil-law notary office, the check is included in the price as a standard.

For trademarks and designs registration you can contact BOIP | CaribIE

Frequently asked questions about (registering) trade names

  • What happens if I want to register a trade name that already exists?

    If you apply for a trade name at the Commercial Register, we will check to see whether there are any conflicting trade names that are already listed in the register. If we advise against using a certain name, the applicant can do one of two things: he can change the name to one that does not conflict and submit that name. Or he can still submit the first name. We will inform the first user of the name. That first user may claim the name and ask the court to order you to pay compensation for damages. The first user must, in that case, be able to prove that he/she has incurred damage as a consequence of the fact that someone is using the same name.

  • Can I submit more than one trade name?

    Yes, that’s possible. Every business has the option of listing several trade names in the Commercial Register. It’s up to you to decide how many names you want to register. Mind you, it is a good idea to have names that are directly connected to the activities you perform as a business so that you do not confuse third parties. It would be strange to name your bakery “Butcher’s” or “Paintworks”, for instance.

    A foundation or association (that do not do any commercial activities) may not list a trade name. They may only be listed and operate under their official name, although an abbreviated name, which must also be listed, may be used. That name is often already mentioned in the Articles of Association by the civil-law notary.

  • I don’t want to use a trade name any more; is that allowed?

    Yes, that’s possible. You can always remove a trade name of your company from the register if you wish. The person/persons who represent(s) the business must notify the register of the change by filling in and signing a form R. It is not very easy to change the official name of a business (private/public limited company/foundation/association) because that information is laid down in the legal entity’s Articles of Association. That information may only be changed by a civil-law notary on Bonaire.

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