A Glimpse into UAE’s Anti-counterfeiting efforts in 2023

The global market value of counterfeit goods is valued at USD 2-3 trillion, adversely affecting companies and individuals. Countries that are major trading hubs always face the threat of trademark infringement in the form of counterfeiting. A global trading hub such as the UAE has made significant strides against counterfeiting by implementing robust laws and regulations.

The country offers strong protections to brands from counterfeiting provided they have carried out trademark registration in the UAE. The UAE is a global trading hub where goods worth billions of dollars get imported into the country and exported and re-exported worldwide yearly.

Counterfeiting Penalties in UAE Trademark Law

The newly enacted UAE Trademark Law (Federal Decree-Law no. (36) of 2021) offers significant punishment for those who commit the act of counterfeiting. It says that a “penalty of imprisonment and a fine of no less than AED 100,000 and not more than AED 1,000,000, or either of these two penalties, will be imposed” on whoever conducts the following crimes:

  1. Forges a Trademark that was registered in accordance with the provisions of the Decree-Law or counterfeits a Trademark in a way that leads to confusing the public, whether in respect of the goods or services distinguished by the original Trademark or those that are similar thereto.
  2. Knowingly uses a forged or counterfeit Trademark for commercial purposes.
  3. Puts on his goods or uses in respect of the services he provides, in bad faith, a Trademark owned by others.
  4. Possesses tools or materials with the intent of using them to forge or counterfeit registered or well-known Trademarks.
  5. Knowingly imports or exports goods bearing a forged or counterfeit Trademark.

More Fines for Counterfeiting in UAE

The Law also says that “a penalty of imprisonment not exceeding one year and a fine of not less than AED 50,000 and not more than AED 200,000 or either of these two penalties shall be imposed on whoever sells or offers for sale or circulation or possesses with the intention of selling goods or offers the provision of services carrying a forged, an imitated, or unlawfully put or used Trademark, despite his knowledge thereof”.

Anti-counterfeiting Measures in the UAE

Brand owners can resort to several measures if they detect trademark infringement in the UAE in the form of counterfeiting. If you are unaware of how to proceed against counterfeiting, trademark agents in the UAE can advise you. The following measures can be opted for if you discover any act of counterfeiting in the UAE:

Criminal Prosecution

You can file a criminal complaint to the criminal intelligence departments (CID) within the police or the public prosecution. After receiving the complaint, the police authorities will review it and decide whether to issue an arrest warrant against the criminals for facilitating a raid or investigate further.

Once a course of action has been approved, the CID/police officials will raid the concerned premises, seize products, collect evidence and search for leads and information from any suspects at the scene. The seized goods will be stored in a police storage till the proceedings are complete. If the counterfeiting crime is confirmed appropriate punishments will be imposed on the accused.

Border Enforcement

Brands that have already registered their trademarks with the UAE Trademark Office can ensure protection from counterfeiters through border control measures. By recording trademarks with the Customs Authorities of the relevant emirates, trademark owners can prevent the entry of fake goods into the UAE market. Border enforcement is currently possible in emirates such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al-Khaimah.

However, only those right holders who have already performed trademark registration in the UAE are eligible for this. Once the infringement is detected, the Customs officials will seize the goods and destroy them. Penalties will also be imposed on the counterfeiters. The best trademark agents in UAE can help you record their registered mark with the Customs Authorities.

Administrative Action

You can act against counterfeiting by initiating an administrative action through the Department of Economic Development (DED) of the relevant emirate. To initiate an administrative action, brand owners are required to file a complaint with the DED of the emirate in which the infringement has been detected. The complaint should be supported with relevant documents and official fees.

The DED will order an official raid at the site where the counterfeit goods are stored. The officials will confiscate the counterfeit goods and a fine not less than AED 15,000.00 will be imposed on the infringers. Trademark agents in the UAE will assist the brand owners in initiating the administrative action.

Civil Action

Brand owners can directly file a lawsuit in a court against counterfeiting in the UAE. They are eligible to claim compensation and other statutory civil remedies including seizure, destruction, cancellation of an infringing trademark or trade name, publication of judgment and/or closure of infringing business.

Hire the Best Trademark Agents in the UAE

Counterfeiting can dent the reputation of your brand apart from inflicting serious damages to your profits. The UAE has implemented robust anti-counterfeiting measures that enable seamless brand protection. Trademark agents in the UAE such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) can help you protect your valued brand from counterfeiting.

JIP’s highly qualified trademark experts would assist the brands in trademark registration, search, trademark watch, recording of trademarks with Customs, and filing for administrative action. By entrusting all the trademark-related services to JIP, the brand owners can see their brand strategies achieving success in the UAE and other GCC countries.

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