Top IP Considerations For Brands When Expanding Into The UAE

UAE is a hub for international brands, hence when entering a new market such as the UAE, brands must consider all aspects of Intellectual Property (IP) to ensure brand protection. The UAE is widely regarded as a gateway to the Middle East and continues to be the top market for businesses to expand to. The country’s appeal among foreign investors has doubled thanks to the UAE joining WIPO making IP protection cost-effective and efficient and ongoing EXPO 2020, which is drawing in millions of investors into the country. However, all your expansion strategies will go to waste if you ignore key IP considerations such as patent protection and trademark registration in the UAE.

If you are seeking a potential market for your invention, it’s essential to secure your IP rights through patent registration in the UAE. And if you are a brand, trademark registration is essential to safeguard your brand names and logos. Ignoring IP protection will lead to infringement and counterfeiting, ultimately leading to business failure or loss of brand loyalty. This article looks at the key IP considerations you must take into account when making the move of entering the UAE.

Assessment of existing IP rights and imminent risks 

Before setting foot in the UAE market, it is recommended to hire IP firms in the UAE to carry out an official IP search. In the case of brands, trademark agents in the UAE can conduct a search on the official trademark database. Conducting a trademark search in the UAE will help you to identify all the recently filed and registered trademarks.

It will allow the trademark agents to advise you on the level of risk posed by these marks on your proposed trademark. If identical similar marks are detected, IP firms in the UAE can advise you on the remedial strategies. In the case of inventions, you can conduct a patent search with the help of patent agents in the UAE. Through a patent search in the UAE, you can check the technical features of your invention.

Registration of your Intellectual Property Assets under Madrid Protocol 

It’s advisable to start registering your IP assets as soon as you start your commercial activities in the UAE. This is particularly significant in the case of trademark registration in the UAE as mere use doesn’t guarantee brand protection in the country. The UAE follows the first-to-file principle, based on which the one who first files the trademark application will be assumed as the rightful owner. From December 2021 onwards, brand owners can register their trademarks in multiple International jurisdictions through a single filing under the Madrid Protocol.

For patents, you need to consider whether your invention is eligible for patent registration in the UAE. Your invention will be granted patent protection in the UAE if it shows novelty, involves an inventive step and is capable of industrial applicability. The patent will not be granted if the subject matter of the invention is any of the following:

  • Aesthetic creations
  • A discovery, scientific theory or a mathematical method
  • A scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a computer program
  • A presentation of information
  • A procedure for surgical or therapeutic treatment, or diagnosis, to be practised on humans or animals

Enforcement of Trademarks 

Once a trademark is registered in the UAE, you need to ensure the trademark is actively used for commercial purposes. Continued non-use of a registered trademark for over five years will give a chance for third parties to raise cancellation claims against the mark.

You should also take care to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with your business partners to protect any confidential information regarding the IP rights. NDAs are particularly useful for patents as premature disclosure may be viewed as a failure to meet the novelty requirement. Your patent application may be rejected due to the lack of Novelty.

Protection against Counterfeiters 

In the case of trademarks, it’s essential for brand owners to create an effective anti-counterfeiting strategy to fight fake goods. In the UAE, brand owners can record their registered trademarks with the Customs Authorities to monitor inbound shipments for products that infringe their trademark rights In Dubai, you can also record your trademarks with the Department of Economic Development (DED), which will screen the local marketplace to detect trademark infringement in the form of counterfeiting.

The UAE’s progress in anti-counterfeiting measures has been lauded by the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The USTR recently removed the UAE from its watchlist, impressed by the measures taken by the Dubai Customs and Ajman DED in fighting off the menace of counterfeiting. Consult with trademark agents in Dubai to secure your trademarks from counterfeiting.

Consult with Jitendra Intellectual Property 

As we have seen in this blog, you need to navigate many IP challenges before entering the lucrative UAE market. These challenges can be overcome by creating a robust strategy from the get-go with the help of IP firms in Dubai such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP). We are one of the leading providers of trademark and patent services in the UAE. JIP can help IP owners to put robust IP protection mechanisms in place so that they can be confident that their rights remain protected in the UAE and across the GCC region.

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