Intellectual property in the UAE: What are your rights and offences for violator

Posted by Dr. Hassan Elhais on December 13th, 2021

Intellectual property rights have always played an inherent role in breakthrough discovery in various fields. The commercial and moral rights provided under the IP regime, whether towards monetization of the IP or to declare the ownership in the said innovation has allowed a fine balance to exist in the society that benefits both the creators and the society at large. IP rights comprise of various kinds of rights such as ‘Patents’, ‘Trademarks’, ‘Copyrights’, ‘Designs’ etc. Registration of intellectual property rights allows the creators or owners of the IP to be able to monetize the rights. Consumers, on the other hand, can ensure that they are purchasing safe and guaranteed products.

The UAE is a signatory to a range of international treaties on the recognition and enforcement of intellectual property rights, such as the Paris Convention covering patents and trademarks, Patent Cooperation Treaty for patents, the WIPO Convention and the TRIPS, the Gulf Cooperation Council for trademarks to name a few. The Intellectual property legislation of the UAE includes Patents and Industrial Design Law number 44 of 1992, Trademarks law number 37 as of 1992, Copyright and Neighboring Rights Law number 40 of 1992.

What are intellectual property rights such as Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents?

Trademarks:Trademarks refers to phrases, words or symbols which have the capability to distinguish the source of one product from that of the other. Trademarks in themselves which comprises the tradename and logo of an entity once registered becomes protected and cannot be used by another without the direct consent of the IP holder. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of trademark protection is the ‘Nike’ symbol.

Copyright:is one of the unique intellectual property rights which can be commonly understood as the authorship rights over any original work, which can comprise of literary, music, art, software program etc. Copyright exists in work the moment you create the original work; however, registration of the copyright is important in order to ensure protection from infringement.

Patent: A patent is usually provided for twenty-year terms to protect new inventions which have industrial utility. A patent owner can prevent others from selling, using or making the product or process for which patent rights are provided.

In an enforcement action for counterfeit goods, the UAE courts may order the following remedies of:

  1. the seizure or destruction of counterfeit goods and the machinery used to create them;
  2. the suspension of the offender’s trade license etc.

The penalties imposed for IP infringement in the UAE may range from detainment for at the very least three months and a fine at least AED 50,000 and not more than AED 500,000 for copyright infringement (Article 38 of the copyright law); imprisonment period of not less than three months and not more than two years and (or) be charged not less than 5,000 Dirhams and not more than 100,000 Dirhams (article 60 of the patent law); and trademark infringement is punishable by imprisonment and/or fine of AED 5000.

Intellectual property in the wider context is beneficial for the world as it encourages innovation and development. Without allowing intellectual property rights, the individuals would not be allowed to reap the benefits of the inventions and lead on to further research and development. Intellectual property rights thus play a key role in providing a strong boost to the economy of nations.

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Dr. Hassan Elhais

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Dr. Hassan Elhais
Joined: December 20th, 2020
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