Key Aspects of UAE Patent Law Inventors must Know

Entities planning to conduct patent registration in the UAE need to be aware of a major overhaul of the country’s IP legislation. The UAE has introduced Federal Law no. 11 of 2021 on the regulation and protection of Industrial Property Rights, which will repeal the former Patent Law, Law No. 17 of 2002. The new UAE Law covered a wide range of IP rights, including patents, industrial designs, integrated designs, undisclosed information and utility certificates.

Even though published in Official Gazette no. 703 on 31 May 2021, the new Patent Law in the UAE is expected to come into force when the Executive Regulations are published in November 2021. The changes included in the law looks like an effort to synchronise the UAE’s patent law with international patent legislation.

Patentability Criteria

An invention is eligible for patent registration in the UAE if it forms an inventive step and is capable of industrial application. The new law provides a definition for inventive steps. An invention will involve an inventive step when it is not axiomatic or obvious in the opinion of an ordinary craftsman. The new definition is in alignment with the international patent registration standards where an inventive step is involved when it is non-obvious to an ordinary person skilled in the art. Patent registration agents in the UAE can assist you with more details once the government issues the Executive Regulations.

Patents Related to Medical Treatment

Just like the old law, the methods of treatment and diagnosis are still not eligible for patent registration in the UAE. However, the law doesn’t specify the patentability of products used in such methods. UAE patent agents expect that the implementing regulations would provide more insights on this matter.

Filing of Urgent Patent Applications

Patent applicants can now request the UAE patent office to expedite the examination process for urgent applications. This provision will be significant if the UAE plans to join the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program. However, it’s not clear if the UAE will join the program at this stage.

New Conditions for Filing Patents

The UAE has introduced a new provision that issues new conditions for filing patent registration applications. The applicants should file the patent applications in English or Arabic, and if either is not available, a late filing will be allowed. The deadline is 90 days from receipt of the official notice to meet the missing document requirements. Under the new provision, it is also possible to perform post-filing amendments if the changes come within the scope of the original application.

Grace Period for Patent Disclosures

An invention must be novel or new to be considered patentable. The novelty is achieved when it has not been disclosed to the public in any form (oral or written). This is a standard requirement for most of the national patent regimes. In certain jurisdictions, disclosures are allowed by the inventor or third parties who obtain information from the inventor, provided they occur within a specific grace period. The new UAE Patent Law says disclosures by the inventor that occur within 12 months of the filing date will have no effect on novelty.

Requirements for Industrial Designs

As per the new law, industrial designs will be considered as new if it has not been disclosed to the public, before the filing date of the application, whether by publication, use, or any other method. The new law increased the period of protection for industrial design to (20) years, starting from the date of submission of the application.

Subject Matter Exclusions

The new law for patent registration in the UAE also states the subject matter exclusions regarding the patentability of certain inventions. As per the former law, plant varieties, animal species, or biological methods for their production are out of the scope of patentability. The new law has not changed this rule but extended its scope to more items such as research on plant or animal species.

The previous patent law didn’t mention computer-implemented inventions. However, the law has outrightly excluded “software” from patentability. The denial of patentability for software will be a concern at a time the UAE government is promoting the digital economy through AI, blockchain and their wide-ranging applications.

Other Major Updates on the UAE Patent Law

  1. The applicant is allowed to convert a utility certificate into a patent application in line with the clauses in the executive regulations
  2. The entities can file Integrated Circuit Layout Designs in the UAE with a protection term of ten years
  3. The combination of two or more medicines for the medical treatment by a licensed pharmacist is now allowed (patents rights are not applied).

How can Jitendra Intellectual Property Help You?

The introduction of a new law is expected to strengthen the regime of patent registration in the UAE as the focus seems to be making the legislation more in line with the global standards. The grace period for disclosures and provision for urgent patent applications are likely to be beneficial for UAE applicants. However, a clear picture will be available only when the Ministry releases the implementing regulations.

Patent registration agents in the UAE, such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP), can keep the companies updated about the new changes in the law. JIP is a full-service IP firm in Dubai that strives to protect the IP rights of companies, individuals, inventors and big corporate groups. Our reliable patent registration services in the UAE ensures a solid protective shield for the entities.

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