Trademark is considered as one of the most prized assets that the companies can own and therefore it needs to be protected in every jurisdiction. Registration of trademarks at the UAE trademark office i.e Ministry of Economy is a crucial process offering protection against copying and infringement. However, recording of the trademarks with the customs departments of the respective emirates in the UAE ensures additional protection in case of infringement and counterfeit products. Currently, 5 emirates in the UAE offer trademark protection through Customs registration, they are:
- Abu Dhabi
- Ras Al Khaimah
At present, the emirates of Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain do not offer trademark protection through customs authorities. The trademark recordation should be done in with the customs departments of each separately, but the process is the same in all the emirates. Trademark agents in Dubai, UAE advise brand owners to register their trademarks at the respective emirates after completing the registration with the Trademark Office.
Why Trademark Protection through Customs is Important?
Ensuring the protection of intellectual property rights is as important as setting up or expanding a business. The companies that are well aware of the importance of brand identity invest heavily in all forms of intellectual property rights protection. The UAE has put in place effective trademark laws to secure the rights of brand owners. However, once the trademark becomes an asset after registration with the trademark office, it becomes vulnerable to infringement from competitors.
The trademark infringement would hurt the brand identity and business prospects of the companies. The recording of the trademark with the customs authorities would enable the brand owners to enforce their intellectual property rights. Registering trademarks with the customs departments of the respective emirate will ensure that the goods that infringed the trademarks would not enter the UAE.
The Process of Trademark Recording With UAE Customs
The customs departments of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah allow the brand owners to register their trademarks. Through the recording service, the Customs Department maintains a database for the intellectual property rights of the trademarks previously registered with the UAE Trademark Office.
A trademark owner, agent or legal attorney in the UAE can record the trademark with the Customs Department after it has been registered at the UAE Trademark Office.
Brand owners are required to request for the recording of the trademark at the respective Customs Department by filling out and submitting a Trademark Record Form. The application and the record fees should be submitted at the office of intellectual property rights at the Customs Department.
The brand owners should ensure that the following requirements are met while applying for registration:
- The classes under which the trademark has been registered at the UAE Trademark Office must be the same as with the Customs Department
- The registration with the Customs does not cover service marks
- The brand owners are required to furnish all the information about the trademark as required by the applicable policies and guidelines. This is important for the Customs officials to distinguish between original and fake goods
- The application should be supported by a copy of the certificate of registration of the mark with UAE trademark office
- The recordation remains valid for the entire term of the trademark. It can be renewed after the renewal of the registration at the Trademark Office
How the Customs Department Tackle Trademark Infringement Cases
The Customs officials have the legal right to inspect any consignment that arrives at the port to ensure that it complies with the regulations. If the officials find any goods that are suspected of infringing the trademark, the officials will notify the legal attorney associated with the recording of trademarks at the Customs Department.
The officials can hold the suspicious good for 3 working days from the date of notifying the legal attorney. The trademark owner can inform the officials whether the detained goods have infringed his Intellectual property rights. The brand owner can also inform that whether he would like to file a complaint against the goods that infringed his trademark rights.
Documents Required to File Complaint on Trademark Infringement
The right holder has the right to confirm or not confirm whether the detained goods have infringed his trademark rights. If the brand owner doesn’t confirm, the Customs officials will release the goods. If the brand owner wants to pursue action against the goods, the following documents must be presented:
- Written Complaint (must be in Arabic)
- Copy of valid trademark registration certificates
- Copy of Power of Attorney
- Written assurance to bear costs of impoundment of goods
- Fee for filing the complaints
Why Choose Jitendra Intellectual Property?
The recording of trademarks with the Customs is the most efficient way of enabling trademark owners to enforce their intellectual property rights in the UAE. However, valid registration with the UAE Trademark Office is a prerequisite for this process. The services of reputed trademark agents in the UAE will ensure that the trademark is registered properly with both the Trademark Office and the Customs Department.
Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) is a full-service Intellectual Property Rights firm in Dubai, UAE with years of experience in helping brand owners protect their trademarks in the UAE and other GCC countries. JIP’s highly qualified trademark agents will help the right holders to register their trademarks with the Customs Departments of respective emirates by ensuring proper documentation. Apart from trademark registration, JIP offers services like trademark search and market investigation to detect any infringement. In the event of any infringement, the trademark agents will offer all legal services to help the trademark owners enforce their rights.