In the UAE, vehicle imports exceed local manufacturing, which facilitates the entry of big global brands that compete with others to grab the market share. Since brand names are integral to beat out rivals, registering a trademark is the most effective way for brand protection in the automotive sector.
UAE has been one of the most robust markets for the automotive industry in the GCC owing to factors including low fuel costs and low import tariffs. Passenger cars constitute around 80% of the UAE market and commercial vehicles account for 20%. The UAE also offers a support system for global automotive exporters and traders in the form of big events like Automechanika which held every year in Dubai World Trade Centre.
Registering the Trademark Strengthens Automotive Brands in the UAE
The UAE Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 on Trademarks as amended, defines a trademark as any distinguished form of names, words, signatures, letters, figures, graphics, logos, titles, hallmarks, seals, pictures, patterns, announcements, packs or any other marks or group of marks, used to distinguish goods, products or services from other sources. In the UAE, the Ministry of Economy is the competent authority to register trademarks. Brand names, logos, and design are highly crucial to the business prospects of the automotive sector and vehicle makers consider trademark registration as the most effective way of brand protection. Trademarks offer protection to automotive brands in the following ways:
1. Trademark Protect well known Automotive Brandnames
Brand names associated with globally renowned car manufacturers like BMW, Ferrari, Peugeot or Fiat instils in the minds of consumers a bunch of ideas, characteristics, attributes or even emotions.
This speaks of the trust and value that people bestow upon these famous brands. Registering trademarks of such kind big companies in the UAE ensure effective brand protection.
2. Protection for Old & Iconic Brands
Car companies have initiated a trend of re-introducing the names of their old models. Nissan brought back the Datsun brand in some emerging markets, Chevrolet refreshed the Impala brand name in 2014. Other prominent examples are VW Beetle, Mini Cooper or Fiat 500. Automotive majors adopt these strategies to tackle the upsurge in the number of trademark registrations in the sector, especially for cars.
Russ Clark, former Director of Marketing for Chevrolet brand, had said that the number of trademarked brand names in the automotive sector globally increased to 800,000 in 2013 from a meagre 75,000 in 1985. When companies introduce new vehicle models inspired by old and iconic brand names, the necessity for trademarking becomes even more significant.
3. Trademark Protection to Curb Counterfeit Auto Parts
A registered trademark is an effective tool to curb third parties from selling counterfeited auto parts or components in the UAE market. Counterfeited auto components fall short of the safety standards and technical specifications, which may put consumers’ lives in peril. In 2019, AED 26 million worth of fake Toyota spare parts were seized in official raids conducted across Dubai and Sharjah. The risk posed by counterfeited automotive components like seat belts, wheels, brake rotors is immense.
Classification of Trademarks Related to UAE Automotive Industry
More often, brands in the automotive industry file for a trademark in the Class 12 category, which is meant for vehicles. However, the sector has undergone drastic changes in the last decade mainly owing to the evolution of technology. New technologies in driving and tracking vehicles have necessitated the expansion of trademark filings into other classes.
Generally, automotive companies register their trademarks in the following classes:
Class 12 is mainly for vehicles and apparatus for the transport of people or goods by land, air or water. It includes,
- motors and engines for land vehicles;
- couplings and transmission components for land vehicles
- air-cushion vehicles
- remote control vehicles
- bumpers, windscreens, steering wheels, tires for vehicle wheels, and treads.
Automotive companies can file for trademarks in Class 4 for related services including motor and lubricating oils.
Trademark filing under Class 9 includes batteries, simulators for steering, apparatus, and instruments for controlling and monitoring aircraft, watercraft and unmanned vehicles.
Class 11 is broadly for apparatus and installations for lighting, heating, cooling, steam generating, cooking, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes. However, for the automotive sector trademark can be filed for vehicle reflectors, and lights.
Under Class 35, brands can file for trademarks related to trading & showrooms selling. Registering a trademark under this class plays a major role as most of the automotive major businesses trade in other countries.
For vehicles companies, it is important to file trademarks under Class 37 which is related to service centres, Installation and repair services.
Trademark filings under Class 39 cover services for the transport of people, animals or goods from one place to another by rail, road, water, air or pipeline and services related to such transport.
Choose Jitendra Intellectual Property for Trademark Protection
Considering various factors including lower fuel prices, lower import tariffs and strong purchasing power of consumers, the UAE has become a top draw for automotive exporters. However, trademark agents in UAE advise businesses in the automotive sector to register their trademarks under applicable classifications in the UAE to stay ahead in the highly competitive environment. Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) has a veteran team of trademark agents who will ensure that the trademark of automotive companies remains protected in the UAE. JIP can help companies with any query related to trademark search, registration process, from filing to publication in any class across the GCC countries.