UAE Laws on Common Copyright and Trademark issues

Trademarks in UAE protect the exclusive association of consumers with company’s logo, design, or brand. Utility patents, on the other hand, provide protection to ideas, inventions, and aesthetic features of products. As for copyrights, they secure rights in producing, disseminating, creating, and adapting copies of original works. All of them are intellectual property that cause lots of Copyright and Trademark issues for different individuals and business organizations in UAE. The UAE Federal Law (No 37) of 1992 on Intellectual Property and Trademarks as amended by Federal Law (No 19) of 2000 and Federal Law (No 8) of 2002 set out the provisions for regulating various Copyright and Trademark issues which arise in relation to intellectual property in the country.

Ownership of Trademarks

As mentioned earlier, UAE Federal Law (No 37) of 1992 regulates legislation on trademarks, including registration procedures and ownership. The legislation includes definitions of signs and marks which can and can’t be registered as trademarks, cancelation and registration procedures, licensing for others to utilize registered trademarks, transfer of ownership, general and transitory provisions, and the penalties for infringement on trademark rights.

To ensure ownership of a specific mark, registration procedures have to be followed accordingly. As soon as an applicant files a trademark registration application, it will be queued for close examination with regards to the trademark’s registrability. The accepted applications by UAE Ministry of Economy or MOE will get published on two local newspapers and in Trademark Journal in UAE. There’s a thirty-day period given for any third party to file their opposition on the registration of a specific mark.

The decision of MOE regarding an opposition claim can be appealed to the trademark office’s committee. The decision of the committee can also be appealed with a competent court. If there is no opposition filed against the registration of trademark in UAE, then the trademark published will get registered. In such case, a certificate of registration for the trademark will be awarded to the applicant. Registration of trademarks in UAE can typically take approximately five months with the registration’s validity lasting ten years subject for renewal for consecutive periods.

Note: a trademark is not the trade name of a company, which is often confused with each other. A trade name, unlike trademarks, does not fall within MOE’s jurisdiction. The registration of a trade name doesn’t create a trademark and ensure exclusive trademark rights.

Ownership of Copyrights

The UAE Copyright & Authorship Law (No 7) of 2002 deals with protection of copyrights. The Copyright Law mandates all authors in submitting their works to UAE Intellectual Property Protection Dept. or IPPD in order to avail sufficient protection that’s granted by the law. UAE legislation grants protection onto authors of artistic, scientific, and literary works. The registration of a copyright is a must in cases wherein enforcement is necessary.

UAE’s copyright law provides protection of works like drawings, works of art, translations of original works, computer software, motion pictures, and sound. Licensing a copyright is allowed in the country and parties can formalize a relationship with the use of a legal agreement. There’s no requirement for copyright licenses to be registered.

As per the UAE Copyright Law, the unauthorized publication of works of authors is considered as a criminal offense. An offender of the law will be penalized with an administrative fine of at least AED 50,000.

Ownership of Industrial Designs

UAE Patent & Design Law or Federal Law (No 44) of 1992 provides the regulations for the registration of all industrial designs. The patent division of the MOE accepts industrial design applications. UAE industrial design rights get approved for novel and aesthetic or ornamental aspects of articles such as shapes, lines, colors, and patterns. Industrial designs relate with the aesthetic features instead of the technical features. An applicant that wants to obtain rights for an industrial design can apply with the MOE’s Design Registry.

Under Federal Law (No 17) of 2002 on Industrial Design, an applicant may obtain industrial drawings and design certificates provided the designs don’t violate public morals or order of the state. Term of protection would be ten years, starting from the date of filing and the owner of a design certificate and industrial drawing may prevent other parties from undertaking activities such as the following:

Use of an industrial drawing, model or design for manufacturing a product
Acquisition or importation of a merchandise that relates to a design, model or drawing with intent of utilizing or selling the product

Registration for an industrial design involves filing of an application with the Patent Office in order to quality for legislation protection, examination of the design which is subject for approval, and acceptance or rejection of application.

To know more about Trademark law, talk to the trademark specialists like Farahat & Co today.

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