The UAE law defines trademarks as any distinguished form of names, words, signatures, letters, figures, graphics, logos, titles, hallmarks, seals, pictures, patterns, announcements, packs or any other marks or group of marks. Trademarks are intended to be used either to distinguish goods, products or services from whatever sources or to indicate that certain services, goods or products belong to the owner of the trademark.
Trademark Infringement in the UAE
Infringement happens when the violator uses a trademark that is identical or incomprehensibly similar to a trademark owned by another party. The infringer’s counterfeited trademark may be identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers.
The following are some of the acts of trademark infringements that are punishable under the UAE law:
- Illegitimate use of a registered trademark already owned by another person
- Placing the registered trademark of another company on products in bad faith
- Selling of products containing counterfeited or imitated trademarks
- The offering of services under a trademark that is forged, imitated, or unlawfully used
- Using a trademark that is not applicable for registration as stipulated in Law
What to do if Someone in the UAE is Illegally Using Your Trademark?
- The Federal Trademark Law No. 37 of 1992 (amended by Federal Law No. 8 of 2002) (“Trademark Law”) protects the Trademarks in the UAE. Once you discover that your registered trademark is being used by another party, you can send a legal notice to the infringer who is counterfeiting the trademark. The notice is a Cease and Desist Letter informing the infringers that they should stop their illegal actions and should not repeat them in the future. The cease and desist letter is basically the first step in the journey towards litigation and hearings at the court.
- If the infringer fails to stop using the owner’s trademark, the latter can file a case to the Ministry of Economy, wherein there is a department or a committee that handles this kind of case to reach an amicable solution.
- If the judge of the committee has settled on a decision and the party that is claimed to be infringing the complainant doesn’t agree with the decision, the case will be raised to the competent court—Court of First Instance.
- In some cases, the judge may deliver a ruling in the first stage but the other party may still think it is not a fair decision. In that case, he can file an appeal and the case will be raised to the Court of Appeal. The last stage of the competent court will be the Court of Cassation where the ruling will be either ratified or cancelled. The verdict by the judge at this point will be considered final and both parties are expected to accept the ruling.
Copyright Infringement in the UAE
The term copyright is used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture, and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings. Infringement happens when these works protected under copyright law are used by violators without authorization.
One of the most common types of copyright infringement in the UAE comes in the form of piracy of movies, video games, and songs. These types of violations are mainly done through P2P or torrent, where violators make the protected content available in the public domain. The virtual proxy networks have rendered the tracking of online piracy a tough task. The following are some of the common types of copyright violations:
- Unauthorized downloading of copyright-protected work
- Display of a text or image or from protected works for promotional activities
- Use of protected material in an e-book without permission
- Downloading copyrighted images from the Internet for use on websites
How Copyright Infringement Cases are tackled in the UAE?
Copyright infringement issues in the UAE are usually decided through direct meetings and further negotiation. If not, then a notice and takedown process or litigation in civil court is the alternative. Large-scale commercial infringement, usually involving counterfeiting, is sometimes prosecuted under the criminal justice system.
Industries that rely more on copyrights, TV Channels, Film Industry, for example, are now less concerned about going after individuals who share copyright-protected content online. They, however, give more emphasis on penalizing indirect infringers like the software distributors, service providers and who are said to encourage and facilitate acts of infringement by others.
Local media companies often fall prey to copyright infringement through P2P or torrent. Such media firms are now seen vigilantly monitoring the local UAE market to identify and catch copyright infringers. In a bid to bring such infringers to the law, media companies work along with enforcement authorities in the UAE such as the Department of the Economic Development (DED) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
However, collecting and safeguarding the evidence in the cases of copyright violation is still a big challenge as most of the infringers are technically advanced. The infringers may try to escape the law by deactivating the decoder with which they performed the copyright infringement action. By deactivating the decoders they could easily destroy the incriminating evidence. However, the enforcement authorities keep this in mind and try to inspect the decoders soon after they raid the location of the copyright violation. Infringers could get tough punishments in the UAE, including deportation in the case of expats.
Seek Help from Intellectual Property Firms in UAE
Cases of copyright and trademark infringement have become a major issue across the world. Being a hot hub of business activities, the UAE is not free from incidents of copyright and trademark violations. A trademark is one of the most valuable assets that one can own as far as their businesses are concerned.
Protecting the identity of the business you own or the work you have created has become increasingly important in the era of advanced technology where it is much easier than ever to steal other people’s creations or business trademark and make a profit out of it.
Why Should You Choose Jitendra Intellectual Property As your Trademark Agent?
Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) is a full services IP firm based in Dubai, UAE. JIP is considered as one of the reputed trademark agents in GCC countries. Since 2001, we are helping businesses all over the GCC in registering trademark across the region. JIP has a soundtrack record of taking care of all the legal proceedings starting from trademark search and filing to the post-registration process in protecting the legal rights of the businesses with registered trademarks.
Dubai government is keen to restrict any possible infringement in the emirates by inviting businesses that have registered trademark in Dubai to apply and get listed with Dubai Economy to counter any sort of infringement on their trademarks. Being trademark agents based in Dubai, JIP comes to the aid of business owners who find their trademarks violated in the UAE if it is registered in the UAE in accordance with the law. In the event that the trademark is not registered and any infringement is identified to be done in the UAE, we will help you register it as per the UAE trademark law and follow up with the procedures of reclaiming and enforcing your legal rights over the registered trademark.