Trademark Law in UAE
The UAE has a well structured law to protect the Intellectual property rights (IPR) of a business including its brand, business name, logo, etc. One of the most important Intellectual property rights is “Trademark” which gives an exclusive right to a person to use his business name and other elements associated with it. In the UAE, the first law regarding trademarks was brought into force in 1979. At present, the Federal Law No 37 of 1992 is the primary legislation, governing all the trademark related matters in the country.
Definition of Trademark
It refers to those elements such as logo, slogans, hallmarks, packaging, names, words, signatures, letters, figures, etc. that are capable of distinguishing one type of goods and services from its competitors. A trademark is considered as an identity of the business.
It is important to note that each and every distinguished element can’t be considered a trademark. There are certain conditions regarding it. For instance- Article 3 of the UAE Trademark Law states that geographic names, banknotes or details of honorary degrees can’t be registered as a trademark. Further, if a mark violates the public order or deceives the public, it shall not be registered.
As per the copyright law, the following persons are eligible to make an application for the registration of Trademark
- Natural and artificial persons of the UAE.
- Foreigners, including natural as well as artificial, engaged in the economic, technological or service sector.
- Other artificial persons.
Registration of Trademark
Though it is not mandatory to register a trademark in UAE, registration offers a wide range of benefits. The process for registering the trademark includes the following steps.
- At the outset, one should carry out a trademark search to assess whether the trademark that you want to register is already in use or not.
- Once you affirm that no such trademark exists, you should download an application form from the ministry of Economy’s website. This application form, along with some documents, needs to be deposited. These documents include, power of attorney, sample of trademark design,trade license, list of goods and services to be protected, and the contact details of the applicant
- After the submission of the documents, the applicant has to file a registration fee (AED 5000) through the Ministry of Economy’s e-service platform.
- At this juncture, the ministry will evaluate the application, and if any false information or something inconsistent appears, it will notify the applicant for further modifications. It may also turn down the application in case of gross error. However, if there is no issue with application, the registration process normally gets completed in 2 months
- The ministry then publishes the trademark related information in 2 national newspapers. The objective behind this step is to invite objections if it resembles someone else legally protected trademarks. Normally, the period of filing objections consists of 30 days.
- If no objection appears with the trademark, the ministry will issue a certificate of registration.
Penalties for Trademark Infringement
If you have registered your trademark, no other person, except you, is authorised to use it. If anyone does, it is considered as a legal offense in UAE and attracts both civil and criminal punishment. The offender can be charged with an imprisonment or a fine at least 5000 AED or both.
The following incidents can be considered as the violation of Trademark
- Any person who imitates or forged a well reputed trademark with an objective of deceiving the general public.
- Any person who uses a licensed trademark without the permission of its legal owner.
- Any person who sells goods and services on the pretext of a legal trademark.
As we saw above, the registration of a trademark has numerous benefits. So, if you are planning to register it, you should consult with a legal advisor, specialised in this field, to get this done in a simple and straightforward manner.