Removal from US IP Watchlist Shows UAE’s Strength on Controlling Counterfeiting Activities

The US has removed the UAE from its IP watch list in recognition of the latter’s efforts to counter IP infringements and counterfeiting. It’s a new milestone for the UAE as the country boasts of one of the strongest IP protection regimes in the world. The removal from the IP watchlist was made possible due to the commendable efforts of anti-counterfeiting efforts implemented in the country UAE. The new development underscores the fact that the brands that undergo trademark registration in the UAE are further protected with robust anti-counterfeit measures.

As one of the top trademark agents in Dubai, we use this occasion to enlighten you about the anti-counterfeit measures in the UAE that passed the US litmus test. Also, we analyse the reasons why the UAE was on the watchlist and how did the country manage to get itself removed from it. Read ahead:

What’s the US IP Watch List?

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) every year releases its annual Special 301 Report on the IP practices of its trading partners. The report analyses the adequacy and effectiveness of trading partners’ protection of IP rights. Apart from that the USTR report also presents its review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy that highlights online and physical markets that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. The report is important to the US as activities such as trademark infringement and counterfeiting affect the country’s economy.

Why was the UAE Removed from the IP Watchlist?

The UAE has been under the radar of the United States Trade Representative (UTSR) for some time. However, the USTR was impressed by the anti-counterfeit efforts by Dubai Customs and the Ajman DED ( Department of Economic Development). Ajman DED’s efforts to curb the menace of counterfeit products in China Mall, Ajman attracted the UTSR’s attention. The decision appeared in UTSR’s 2021 Special 301 Report, which heralds the efficacy of two processes: Customs Recordal & Administrative Action by DEDs of respective emirates. Now, let’s examine the two processes in detail.

Protection through the Customs Authorities

Brands that have already registered their trademarks with the UAE Trademark Office can ensure protection from counterfeiters through border control measures. By recording trademarks with the Customs Authorities of the relevant emirates, trademark owners can prevent the entry of fake goods into the UAE market. However, only those right holders who have already performed trademark registration in the UAE are eligible for this.

Once the infringement is detected, the Customs officials will seize the goods and destroy them. Penalties will also be imposed on the counterfeiters. The following emirates offer the trademark recording services at present:

Abu Dhabi




Ras Al-Khaimah

The brand owners can hire the best trademark agents in Dubai, UAE for recording their registered mark with the Customs Authorities. Recording trademarks with Dubai Customs is regarded as one of the most efficient methods of anti-counterfeiting in the UAE.

Administrative Action

Countering trademark infringement through Administrative Action is a much cheaper anti-counterfeiting measure. The Department of Economic Development (DED) of the respective emirates is the competent authority that regulates the administrative action. Brand owners who fall victim to infringement are required to file a complaint with the DEDs of the respective emirates. The complaint should be lodged with the DED of the emirate in which the infringement was detected. The complaint should be accompanied by relevant documents and official fees.

The DED will order an official raid at the site where the counterfeit goods are stored. The officials will confiscate the counterfeit goods and a fine not less than AED 15,000.00 will be imposed on the infringers. Trademark registration agents in the UAE will assist the brand owners in initiating the administrative action by doing all the paper works on behalf of the right holders.

Key Takeaways

The UAE’s removal from the US IP watchlist shows the progress achieved by the country in curbing the menace of counterfeiting. The removal is on the back of two anti-counterfeit measures: recordal of trademarks through Customs as well as administrative action through DED. The two processes protect the brands that have already conducted trademark registration in the UAE. Trademark agents in Dubai such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) help the brand owners navigate the complexities of anti-counterfeiting measures.

JIP a full-service IP service firm in Dubai that offers trademark registration services as well as protection from infringement. JIP’s highly qualified trademark agents would assist the brands in trademark search, IP watch, recording of trademarks with Customs, and filing for administrative action. By entrusting all the trademark-related services to JIP, the brand owners can see their brand strategies achieving success in the UAE and other GCC countries.

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