Everything You Must Know About Trademark Ownership In The UAE

Even though it may seem obvious to many, the legal question of who owns a trademark registration in the UAE is a crucial decision you must make to protect your brands. The decision to determine the owner of a trademark may appear to be easy, but it may become complex for a corporate group with a complex structure. It will be more complicated for a group with affiliated companies and subsidiaries or a joint venture or partnership of any kind. Consulting with trademark agents in the UAE to get more clarity on the legal aspects related to trademark ownership.

In this article, we will highlight the various perspectives of trademark ownership structures and common issues related to the same. Read ahead to know further:

Who Can Own a Trademark in the UAE?

As per the Federal Decree-Law, no. (36) of 2021 on trademark registration in the UAE, any physical or juristic person has the right to register his/its trademark, in accordance with the provisions of this Decree-Law. As per the UAE trademark law, the owner of a trademark could be any individual who is a UAE national or a foreign national. The owner of the trademark can also be a registered company carrying out any business activity in the UAE.

Various Scenarios of Deciding the Ownership of a Trademark

In the case of a company planning to register its trademark in the UAE, it is important to analyse its structure, nature of the business and brand strategies. Foreign businesses wishing to register their trademarks must seek the help of trademark agents in the UAE to determine the ownership of the mark. Consider the following scenarios before applying for trademark registration in the UAE:

Scenario 1

In the normal scenario, a company decides to register its trademark after being incorporated in the UAE. This is a straightforward scenario where the firm can register the trademark under its name and be the owner of the registered mark. In this way, the company can have legal rights over its trademark, which is one of its most valuable assets.

Scenario 2

In some cases, a company may create a trademark and a concept that it would like to commercialise. In this situation, the company can enter into a partnership with other entities that are ready to invest in the business venture. If the company wishes to retain the trademark ownership, it is allowed to keep it under its name. However, monetisation can grant the partnership entity a licence to use the trademark, thereby ensuring the former’s rights over the trademark. Franchising and co-branding are some of the common trademark licensing practices that reflect this scenario.

Scenario 3

This scenario applies to companies with a complex structure such as a joint venture. Here, the business owners should have clarity over the ownership of the trademark that will be used by the joint venture. In a partnership firm, usually one of the partners will be the owner of the trademark to be used by the company. The partners should reach an agreement on who will own the trademark or whether they jointly own it. The agreement between the partners should clearly state the rights of each party and what will happen to the trademark if the partnership firm is dissolved.

Scenario 4

Big corporate groups with multiple affiliate companies under it should be careful while deciding on the ownership of their trademarks. Usually, the Group Company or holding company will be the owner of the trademark, which will assign licenses internally to each of its affiliates to use the trademark. Such an arrangement will come in handy for the group company to protect and maintain its trademark portfolio.

Why it is Important to Decide on the Owner of the Trademark?

Before conducting trademark registration in the UAE, businesses must determine the legal owner as the owner is entitled to certain exclusive rights and benefits associated with the mark. Some of the rights and benefits are listed below. Consult with trademark agents in the UAE for further details:

  1. The owner can hold the trademark as a valuable asset
  2. Only the trademark owner can exploit the mark through commercialisation, license and trademark assignment
  3. Trademark owners can exploit their legal rights over the trademark to be used in business negotiations
  4. Only  the legal owners can enforce the trademark right to prevent others from infringing it

Consult with the Best Trademark Agents in the UAE

Businesses must determine the proper owner of their trademarks before applying for trademark registration in the UAE. Deciding on trademark ownership is a complex process that requires business owners to consider different aspects such as the nature and structure of their business. However, consulting with trademark agents in the UAE such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) can help businesses easily navigate such complexities.

JIP is one of the leading IP firms in Dubai with an impeccable track record of helping businesses to register their trademarks across the GCC region. We undertake services such as trademark registration, trademark renewal, trademark watch, trademark search, advice on trademark infringement disputes etc. JIP has also started providing advice on the Madrid Protocol of international trademark registration. Hire our trademark agents to ensure brands are protected without any legal hassle.

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