BIP: Pioneering an innovative and entrepreneurial economy for St. Maarten
It is not often that one gets to participate in defining history for a country. Yes, we can define history for ourselves and that can be an enormous task. So being able to assist in molding the future of a country is no small feat. However, at just 30, Mrs. Vincentia Rosen-Sandiford as Director, is charged with running the very first Bureau for Intellectual Property in the history of St. Maarten. In doing so, she is helping to foster a more diversified innovative and entrepreneurial economy which is almost solely dependent on tourism.
Her level of intense focus and hard work shows up in her accomplishments both personal and professional. Before 30, she was already working in the Ministry of Finance as a policy advisor, studied Management, Economics, and Law in the Netherlands, married to an IT-Manager who is a terrific salsa dancer and has a beautiful four-year-old daughter. The youngest of seven, this quiet, analytical, and quality oriented woman has been putting her mark in St. Maarten’s history in a diplomatic, subtle, and yet dynamic way.
Under her leadership, the Bureau for Intellectual Property of St. Maarten (also known as BIP SXM) has strategically partnered with local, regional, and international organizations to best provide the information required to support entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, and creators in their quest to dominate in their space. In fact, BIP SXM is a key partner of DOMINATE 360, a dynamic 3-day getaway for entrepreneurs and business professionals who want to dominate in life and in business. As creator of DOMINATE 360, I am humbled and fascinated by her commitment to transform St. Maarten’s economy one intellectual property asset at a time.
I sat down with Mrs. Rosen to find out more about what drives her and what the future of BIP SXM will look like.
What do you for fun?
I enjoy hanging out with my family. I am the youngest of 7 children, I have 16 nieces and nephews, and one great nephew. There is never a dull moment. It is most important for me to spend time with my daughter, husband and mother, who support me tremendously. I love to cook, eat, sing and dance. I come from a long line of cuisine lovers and musicians. I only sing for my family and in church but I will dance some salsa on the dance floor.
How do you impact the world?
I like to consider myself as a good, loving, and caring person who at the same time is firm. I also consider myself an eternal student of life. The day that I am no longer learning something new is the day I am no longer exercising my potential to impact the world in a positive light. In my position, as first director of BIP SXM, I have a big responsibility in setting up the structure that will impact our economy for generations to come.
What is your biggest challenge to date?
If I’m honest, my biggest challenge is work-life balance. That is not easy for me to share. I don’t easily talk about the challenge of balancing my responsibilities as a director or the time I would love to spend with my daughter and husband. However, I have a great support system and that allows me to do the best I can at work and at home. This year, I have reached the milestone of realizing I’m not the only one that feels that way. It’s a universal challenge of professionals so that’s what it is and I embrace it.
What has been the most rewarding part of working at BIP SXM?
Wow, it is hard to pick just one. The three that come to mind are:
- BIP SXM is there to increase knowledge and awareness to the public. Many entrepreneurs and creators don’t understand intellectual property rights and what it means to have or not to have an intellectual property right. So being able to inform the public is very rewarding and dynamic.
- BIP SXM establishes long-lasting connections and relationships with its stakeholders and clients. It is also very rewarding to work with local and dynamic entrepreneurs for projects that assist BIP SXM in doing what we do best.
- Through the work, we do at BIP SXM, and the people we work with to accomplish our objectives, BIP SXM is helping to define history and create a future for generations to come.
Why is it important to support entrepreneurs, especially?
Entrepreneurs are visionaries. They may start small but they have the potential to grow and impact our economy. They are so many factors that affect business and so the support and laws are necessary for them to be sustained and to grow.
From your perspective, what does the future of St. Maarten look like?
In my opinion, opportunities are endless for St. Maarten and for those that love it. I believe that some entrepreneurs are going to do incredible things that will continue to bring international attention to our country.
Besides the legislation to administer intellectual property rights, the country needs enforcement laws to continue to attract both foreign and domestic investments. Through the assistance of its local stakeholders, international relations and partnerships BIP SXM, within its legal capacity, will research the possibilities for the establishment of enforcement laws in the country. Such laws aid in the further protection of both local and international brands.
Why did you decide to partner with DOMINATE 360?
You and your team have created a platform to connect entrepreneurs, promote awareness and share knowledge. BIP SXM is able to gain feedback from entrepreneurs on what they want to know, need to know, or already know where intellectual property is concerned. This type of market insight can only be gained by going into the community and asking and being asked the tough questions. Also, I met people who have been influential in my life through DOMINATE 360. Every year the event gets better, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring.
As we wrapped up the interview over lunch at a beach front restaurant, I walked away thinking two things:
1) Every entrepreneur, creator, innovator needs to get their intellectual property in order and;
2) Lasting success comes through partnerships.
BIP SXM is obviously positioning itself for increased success through the important work it provides and its keen focus on building strategic partnerships locally, regionally, and internationally.
 The intellectual property rights of Sint Maarten prior to October 10, 2010 were administered through the Bureau for Intellectual Property of the Netherlands Antilles. As per October 10, 2010 until October 1, 2015 the Bureau for Intellectual Property of Curaçao acted on behalf of Sint Maarten to register trademarks both national and international. As of October 1, 2015, the Bureau for Intellectual Property Sint Maarten was legally established and henceforth in charge of the administration and providing information of intellectual property rights on Sint Maarten. Since then the Bureau for Intellectual Property Sint Maarten, in close cooperation with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property, provides an online trademark registration system allowing the entire procedure to be considerably fast and transparent. Anywhere in the world you can track the status of your trademark application in Sint Maarten on-line.
 The Bureau is not a regulatory body and therefore does not have any law enforcing authorities. By law the Bureau can only carry out tasks pertaining to the registrations of trademarks, provide information to the public regarding intellectual property, and thereto related matters. The Bureau’s position is neutral. Given the fact that the Bureau has to serve all entrepreneurs, it cannot take the side of one party in a conflict, since this would automatically result in no longer being able to serve all. The Bureau cannot act against any infringement of intellectual property rights or the suspicion thereof. Furthermore, the law does not provide for any instruments for the Bureau to conduct any procedures in relation to infringement or dispute settlement. In the event of any (suspected) infringement, a law suit should be filed with the civil court by the owner of the intellectual property rights.