The United Arab Emirates is a young nation established in 1971 as a federation of seven emirates. The intellectual property laws in UAE are also comparatively new compared to other countries. In the recent years, there are sure signs of it progressing on the right track towards achieving government goals, in compliance with the international Trade Related Intellectual Property rights (TRIPS) agreement.

Let us discuss some major developments in this direction such as the reduction in IP registration fees and the DIFC Intellectual Property Law, and see how it is going to favor intellectual property in UAE in 2020.

Reduction in IP Fees

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the world economy without excluding any countries. The UAE government has provided many economic relief measures for citizens in general and business enterprises in particular to overcome this tough situation.

A major gesture in this direction is the Ministerial Decree issued by the UAE Cabinet on 31st March 2020 that applies reduction in the official fees for various services provided by the UAE Ministry of Economy including IP registration.

This decree will highly benefit trademark registration in UAE as it brings substantial reduction in the charges associated with enforcement of trademark rights against third parties. Although, there was a significant reduction of up to 33% in trademark registration fees in July 2019, further reduction will certainly support businesses during these tough times and align official fees for registration with international standards. This reduction is applicable to 26 different trademark services and will bring the fees to an amount prior to May 2015.

The official fees for registering a copyright infringement case also remain minimal in UAE with AED 100 for individuals and AED 350 for legal entities. The Decree also includes industrial property protection and patent registration, the official charges for patent examination being AED 7,000 and re-examination being AED 5,000. The fee for renewal of industrial designs is fixed at AED 1,000 for individual ownership and AED 2,000 for legal entities.

The UAE government has reduced the official charges for registration in the hope that it will encourage enterprises and businesses to register their Intellectual property rights without delay. In alignment with the government policies and to support the entrepreneurs and investors during these tough times, we at Axiom Mark have also reduced our IP registration fees to a minimum.

DIFC Intellectual Property Law

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is the number one financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. The new DIFC Intellectual Property Law in UAE (Law No. 4 of 2019) was enacted on November 21, 2019 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The newly-enacted Intellectual Property law compliments the DIFC’s commitment to international best practices and covers Patents, Utility Certificates, Industrial Designs, Copyright, Trademarks, Trade Names and Trade Secrets, with the Law aiming to govern the enforcement of intellectual property rights throughout the nation and create a safe environment for creativity and innovation.

The law will provide enough freedom to all institutions within the MEASA region, from a global level to start-ups and individuals, to innovate and design creative solutions.

The key aspects of the law include:

  • Complete acknowledgement and reaffirmation of UAE registered Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs, Utility Certificates and Drawings
  • Re-examining the power allotted to every IP rights and its limitations
  • More clarity of laws in employment relations, to determine ownership of Patent and Copyrights
  • Appointing Commissioner of Intellectual Property who will be responsible for administering the proposed law and resolving disputes related to IP violation
  • Remedial measures to prevent intellectual property infringement

Reduction in Intellectual property complaints

Reports from the 1st quarter of 2020 show a considerable reduction (34 percent) in the complaints related to violation of Intellectual Property (IP) rights in UAE compared to the previous year. Also, a total of 5,300 trademark registrations were reported in the first three months of 2020, which is a 14 percent increase compared to last year.

The number of registered commercial agencies rose to more than a hundred percent during the same period whereas the number of infringement cases reduced to a mere two in the first quarter of this year.

These results are a valid proof of the important role played by UAE government and IP registration agencies like Axiom Mark in protecting investor rights and enhancing the business environment and economic status of the nation. This also makes UAE an attractive and safe destination for commercial agencies and business enterprises.

Conclusion

Although, the Decree is currently not limited to a fixed time period, it would be advisable for those planning to register their intellectual property in UAE to procure their IP rights at the earliest, as the reduction may undergo changes when there is betterment in the present pandemic crisis.

Nevertheless, these changes in law and reduction in official fees will certainly benefit the intellectual property community in UAE and will align the IP status in accordance with the international standards. Let us hope that these reforms will certainly bring a reduction in the complaints related to IP rights infringement and motivate all business owners to protect their IP rights.