Intellectual Property Rights in the UAE: 5 Unique Challenges
The foreign companies, brands or authors who set their feet in the UAE to establish their brands or works often ignore the crucial aspects of the UAE intellectual property rights laws, which may hurt their business prospects. The companies that are originally from the common law countries often fail to understand that the UAE is a civil law jurisdiction that draws inspiration from Islamic Law and French Law. The copyright laws in the common law countries have certain differences compared to the copyright laws in the civil law jurisdictions such as the UAE. The companies need to have a firm grip over such differences in the laws while trying to enforce their intellectual property rights in the UAE.
The following are some of the main unique features of the UAE Intellectual property laws:
1. Registration of Trademarks against Public Order
The brand owners are not allowed to register trademarks or logos that are against the laws, culture and public order. The case of Class 33 under the Nice Classification is a perfect example of this limitation. Class 33 is for alcoholic beverages, which cannot be registered in the UAE since alcohol is prohibited in the UAE. The brand owners may instead register such products under other classes.
2. Limitations of Trademark License
As per UAE law, a trademark licensee does not have the right to initiate legal action in its own name against the trademark infringers. The law mandates that only the proprietor of the trademark is entitled to taking legal action against the infringers.
3. Copyright Ownership of Employers
In the UAE, the ownership of the copyright of the works produced by the employees doesn’t automatically rest with the employer. In certain countries like the US, the ‘work for hire doctrine’ enables the copyright of works created by the employee will rest with the employer during the tenure of the employment.
4. Restrictions on Assignments on Future IP rights
The restrictions on the assignment of future copyrights are one of
the unique features that differentiate the UAE copyright laws from the IP laws of the common law countries. The common law countries don’t prohibit the contractual assignment of future copyrights on works that are yet to be created. However, the UAE copyright law prohibits such assignments on five or more copyrighted works of an author.
5. Restrictions on Waiver of Moral Rights
The UAE has strict limitations on the moral rights of an author
which cannot be waived. For example, an author can enforce his right to
withdraw a work from circulation through a competent court. The author in such cases needs to pay fair compensation to the one who has the right to economic exploitation of the work. However, in countries like the US and other common law countries, the authors can waive their moral rights.
How to Address These Challenges?
Foreign companies seeking to enforce their intellectual property rights in the UAE need to have a clear-cut understanding of the IP laws in the UAE. They need to understand how these laws differ from the laws in other jurisdictions. The following are some of the ways in which the companies can address the challenges listed above:
- The companies that intend to license their intellectual property rights should make the licensees register the licenses in the UAE. The businesses should also ask the licensees to notify them of any claims related to the trademark infringements.
- The companies should prepare contractual establishments with the employees where the latter is required to assign financial rights in the works they produce for the companies.
- With regard to the waiver of moral rights, the companies need to establish clear-cut compensation obligations. This would help them in dealing with events in which the author wishes to withdraw his work from circulation.
Seek Help From Trademark Registration Agents in UAE
The UAE offers a strong Intellectual Property rights framework to
protect the rights of the brand owners. However, foreign companies need to
clearly understand how such laws differ from other jurisdictions, especially the common law countries. The UAE can be regarded among the civil law countries, and some of the trademarks, copyright laws may differ. This is where a full-service intellectual property service provider like the Jitendra
Intellectual Property (JIP) becomes significant for brand owners.
JIP has years of experience in registering and enforcing the
intellectual property rights of thousands of clients. JIP’s client base
includes individuals, big corporates and entrepreneurs who seek to establish a
brand value through trademark and copyright registrations in the UAE. JIP
offers legal consultation and would act on behalf of the clients when trademark or copyright infringements are detected. In short, the clients can peacefully establish their brand in the UAE and other GCC countries with the able guidance of JIP.