Trademark Law in the UAE – Introduction
The UAE has always put its best foot forward for protecting brands. To provide owners with the exclusive rights to using their business names and associated elements, the country issued Federal law no.4, as early as 1979. Later, in 1992, the first federal trademark law emerged in the UAE, which was modified in 2000, followed by further amendments over the years. The law grants rights of trademarks to the UAE nationals and non-nationals who perform activities that are commercial, industrial, service, or handicraft oriented. The law also considers legal organizational entities as well as non-Emiratis who perform business or commercial activities in nations that have dealings with the UAE warning letter.
What are Trademarks?
As stated in the Federal Law No.37 of 1992, trademarks refer to those distinctive elements of a brand such as logos, slogans, hallmarks, packaging, or symbols that distinguish it from its competitors.
Although the UAE had declared a consolidated trademark law for the GCC in 2007, it is yet to come into enforcement.
What can be registered as a Trademark?
While a brand is represented through multiple attributes, laws govern what specific elements of a brand can be trademarked. Attributes such as signatures, words, figures, seals, advertisements, engravings, names, drawings, and any other form of mark that is used to set the brand apart from other brands can be trademarked. As per Article 3 of the Federal Law No.37 of 1992, geographical names, banknotes, particulars of honorary degrees, marks that may mislead the public or in fact, breach public order would not be deemed as trademarkable. While it is not mandatory to register your trademark, getting it registered will aid you in obtaining exclusive rights to function and profit under the mentioned trademark. It will also guard your brand against potential infringers and in case of infringement, it will provide you with the right to legal action.
Benefits of Trademarks Registration
Trademark registration does also offers you a wide range of benefits. To start with, when you are forming a company it helps to ensure that your trademark doesn’t strike a similarity with any other existing ones. This will go a long way in protecting your brand against having to pay legal fines or falling into allegations and getting sued for infringement, even if it is an accidental occurrence. Whether you realize it or not, trademarks are valuable assets that manifest as crucial tools of marketing, making it easier for your offering to stand out in the ever-crowded marketplace. It also increases brand loyalty and grabs the trust of your consumers in no time. This also means positive word-of-mouth, higher traffic to your online portals, and thereby enhanced brand recognition.
Who should Trademark?
An individual who desires to differentiate his product or service by means of a trademark should file for trademark registration in the UAE as well as in those jurisdictions where they want to be protected.
Trademark Registration Process in a Nutshell
The process of registration is a straightforward procedure that begins with verifying if the trademark subjected to registration is entitled to be protected in the region. This is generally verified through a systematic and meticulously performed trademark search. Once this process is completed, your trademark application shall be submitted to the Ministry of Economy through expert attorneys. The tenure of the validity of the trademark is ten years and can be renewed for the same period.
Got more questions on UAE Trademark Law lurking in your mind? Feel free to reach out to our seasoned team of expert attorneys, who are more than equipped to answer all your queries.