A Guide to Recent Developments in the UAE IP Protection Regime

The Intellectual Property regime in the UAE is one of the most robust and innovative in the world. The UAE strives towards enabling a smooth patent and trademark landscape for the brand owners. The laws that govern patent and trademark registration in the UAE are proof of this. In recent times, the IP regime in the UAE has witnessed certain welcome changes.

Brand owners must know these changes to effectively protecting their brands in the UAE. Read ahead to understand the recent changes and updates regarding the IP regime in the UAE.

The UAE approves accession to the Madrid Protocol system 

The system of trademark registration in the UAE is likely to become more robust and flexible with the country deciding to join the Madrid Protocol for trademark registration. The UAE’s transition into the Madrid protocol is expected to be completed at the end of 2021 or by early 2022. So far, Bahrain and Oman are the only GCC countries that are party to the Madrid Protocol.

The Madrid Protocol is an elective international trademark administrative system that allows brand owners to register their trademarks in over 120 member countries with a single application. The Madrid Protocol is being run by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is a specialized agency of the United Nations, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. With this new development, trademark registration in the UAE will become faster, flexible and cost-effective.

Late Filing Of The Legalized Power Of Attorney 

The Ministry of Economy, through an official notification, has allowed the late filing of legalized Power of Attorney “PoA” for filing new trademark registrations in the UAE. If the applicants can’t submit the legalised PoA at the time of applying, the applicants or trademark agents in the UAE can file an undertaking that the legalised PoA will be filed within 30 days from the date of submitting the trademark application.

The Ministry of Economy will not impose any late filing fee while submitting the legalised PoA. The new development has come at the right time as many applicants face delays in getting the PoA legalised due to the pandemic. However, the notification also states that late filing of the PoA is not allowed for filing trademark oppositions and submitting appeals before the Ministry of Economy. A fully legalised PoA is required to undertake such actions.

End of GCC Patent Unitary System  

The GCC Unitary Patent System has been discontinued since the start of 2021. This has been announced by the Communications Committee through a circular. The committee also briefed the members on the GCC Supreme Council’s decision after its annual meeting. As per their announcement, the GCC Patent Office stopped accepting new patent applications effective from 6 January 2021.

The end of the GCC Unitary Patent System will have the following impact:

  1. The GCC patent office (GCCPO) stopped serving as the unitary patent filing/issuance office for the GCC
  2. All granted GCC patents will remain valid and enforceable
  3. Any patent issued by the GCCPO will be granted on behalf of a GCC member state. And the validity of such patents will be limited to that member state and will not cover the entire GCC region
  4. The Economic Cooperation Council will formulate a procedure for dealing with all pending patent applications, filed before 6 January 2021
  5. An appellate court has been established, the ‘Judicial Committee of the GCC Council’, to hear appeals against the decisions of the Committee

UAE Trademark Office to release Trademark Gazette bi-monthly 

According to a circular issued on June 15th, 2021, the UAE Trademark Office is changing the schedule of publishing the official Trademarks Journal publication to bi-monthly. This amendment in the schedule will expedite the process of trademark registration in the UAE as applicants can leverage the frequent releases of gazettes and publish their accepted trademark applications promptly.

The USA removes the UAE from the IP watch list 

The IP community in the UAE recently celebrated when news broke out that the UAE has been removed from the US watch list. Apart from that, the UAE has been appreciated for achieving commendable progress in Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement in this year’s USTR 2021 Special 301 Report. The report recognises that the UAE is no longer jurisdiction of concern and it reflects the country’s progress in enhancing IP practices.

The UAE has been under the radar of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for some time. However, the USTR was impressed by the anti-counterfeit efforts by Dubai Customs and the Ajman DED ( Department of Economic Development). Ajman DED’s efforts to curb the menace of counterfeit products in China Mall, Ajman attracted USTR’s attention.

Be Informed by the Best Trademark Agents in the UAE 

In the interim, it appears that the UAE Trademark Office continues to implement improvements in processes and practice to become better positioned when the new laws come into force. The developments in the PoA process and joining the Madrid System are progressive decisions that will dramatically improve the process of trademark registration in the UAE.

Brand owners who wish to leverage the improved IP practices can consult with the best trademark agents in Dubai such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP). JIP can help the brand owners by providing services such as trademark search, trademark monitoring, trademark registration, filing an opposition, and patent registration. Consult with JIP to ensure faster IP clearance and brand success across the GCC region.

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