Trademark Litigation in UAE: Fair Use as an Infringement Defence

While dealing with trademark litigation in the UAE, businesses need to understand how to use the provision of ‘fair use’ as a defence against infringement. Fair use means the use of a trademark in such a way that it doesn’t infringe upon the owner’s rights. Fair use can be used as a strong legal defence to lawsuits based on trademark infringement, but you need to assess whether your use of a registered trademark qualifies to be fair use.

Providers of trademark litigation services in Dubai can help you assess your trademark use and provide relevant advice. Before availing of trademark legal services in Dubai, you need to understand what fair use is and the different types of fair use in the context of trademarks. Learn more about trademark fair use by reading ahead:

What Is a Trademark Fair Use?

A registered trademark enables the consumers and the general public to recognize the products or services originating from a specific source. The owner of a registered trademark can stop other parties from using his or her trademark to prevent confusion about the source of the goods or services. In certain circumstances, however, others can use the registered trademark if it constitutes fair use. The fair exception is recognized in most jurisdictions and it may help you suffer damages from a trademark infringement lawsuit.

What Are the Types of Fair Use Recognized by Courts?

In general, there are two types of fair use you can use a defence against trademark infringement lawsuits. They are given below:

Descriptive Fair Use

The court will consider it a descriptive fair use when you use someone’s registered trademark to merely describe the user’s product or service rather than as a trademark to indicate the source of the goods or services. Claiming a descriptive fair use makes sense when the trademark in question has a descriptive meaning in addition to its secondary meaning as a trademark.

Prominent social media platform PINTEREST once filed a case in the US against another company named PINTRIPS for the use of the trademark PIN. The court found that PINTRIP’s use of the PINTEREST”s trademark PIN didn’t constitute infringement as it was descriptive of a feature of the service, that is the ability to pin locations on a map, not as a mark. Consult with trademark litigation services in Dubai to understand further the descriptive fair use of a trademark.

Nominative Fair Use

Nominative fair use allows someone to use another’s registered trademark to refer to the trademark owner’s goods and services associated with the mark. The New Kids on the Block V/s News America Publishing, Inc. in the US is the most famous case of nominative fair use. The News America Publishing in its newspaper carried out and published a survey on the music band New Kids on the Block.

The newspaper used the registered trademark ‘New Kids on the Block’ without the band’s consent. However, the court ruled it as a case of nominative fair use because there was no way to ask people their opinion of the band without using its name. However, courts will allow nominative fair use if the use of the particular trademark meets the following three conditions:

  • The product or service referred to should not be readily identifiable without the use of the trademark
  • The user used the trademark only to an extent, which is reasonably necessary to identify the product or service
  • The trademark use does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark owner

When Does Trademark Fair Use Apply?

You can apply fair use as a trademark infringement defence in a wide range of situations. However,  you need to ensure that the mark has been used in good faith and would not cause confusion among consumers. Given below are some common situations where trademark fair use applies:

  • News reporting and commentary
  • Product reviews
  • Parody
  • Comparative advertising
  • Compatibility claims

Hire the Best Trademark Litigation Services in Dubai

The concept of fair use in connection with trademark litigation in the UAE can be complex. Instead of panicking upon receiving a Cease and Desist letter, you need to contact companies providing trademark litigation services in Dubai, UAE. They can help you assess your case if you think the fair use defence might apply in your situation. Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) is one of the best providers of trademark legal services in Dubai. We can assist business owners and entrepreneurs in various industries to help ensure their trademarks are shielded from misuse. Contact us today to ensure your trademark remains completely protected in the UAE.

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