The United Arab Emirates has traditionally placed a premium on brand protection. In 1979, the country passed Federal Law No. 4 to protect the rights of business owners to utilize their trademarks. In 1992, the United Arab Emirates enacted its first federal trademark legislation, which was amended in 2000 followed by further amendments in 2021.
The Trademark Law in the United Arab Emirates was not properly structured until recently when a new law was enacted that promises significant changes to the TM Law of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Under Article 14, Chapter 2 of The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates, which guarantees all citizens equal protection under the law, the Federal Decree Law (36 of 2021) establishes new protections for trademark owners.
Trademark protection under UAE law extends to both UAE nationals and foreigners engaged in commercial, industrial, service, or handicraft activities. Additionally, the law takes into account both legal organizational entities and non-Emiratis who engage in commercial activities in countries that have trade relations with the UAE. If you register your trademark in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman, or Umm Al Quwain, it will be protected in all seven Emirates.
What is a Trademark?
The Federal Trademark Law defines trademarks as the distinguishing aspects of a brand, such as logos, slogans, hallmarks, packaging, names, words, signatures, letters, figures, images, titles, seals, patterns, announcements, packs, and symbols.
When you register your trademark, you create a bond between your employees, customers, and bottom line. It is quite straightforward to locate your business in the market when you have a trademark! This increases the company’s visibility and attracts new customers.
The more well-known your brand becomes, the more valuable your trademark becomes. Upon completing the necessary steps to register an AE trademark, a company or other entity can gain legal protection for its trademark.
What is Eligible for Trademark Registration in the UAE?
There are many ways to define a brand, but only certain aspects can be protected legally as a trademark. Any sign that serves to identify one product from another, such as a signature, title, character, seal, poster, engraving, name, painting, or other, can be registered as a trademark.
UAE federal law prohibits trademarking of some concepts, including geographical names, details of honorary degrees, and banknote designs, as well as marks that can mislead the public or otherwise violate public order.
Trademark registration in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is optional but can help you gain legal protection for your brand. It would also prevent others from using your brand name without permission and provide you legal protection if someone else did.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has specific guidelines that must be followed while filing a trademark. To avoid rejection of your trademark application in the United Arab Emirates, avoid using the following as your trademark.
- Breach of public morals and beliefs.
- Publicly recognizable icons (such as flags).
- Symbols of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
- Names and titles that belong to other people.
- The literal translation of other famous trademarks.
Consult the relevant authorities or your trademark attorney for more information on any other restrictions that may apply to the content of your trademark.
Who is Eligible to Submit an Application for a Trademark Registration?
Businesses and individuals who wish to use trademarks to distinguish themselves from competitors must register their trademarks in the UAE and any other countries where they wish to use them legally.
However, not every UAE resident or employee is eligible to apply for or acquire a trademark. Under Federal Trademark Law, the following entities are eligible to register trademarks:
- Citizens of the UAE and all other individuals working in the commercial, scientific, technical, or service industries.
- Anyone from outside the country who works in the fields of business, technology, engineering, or the arts is included.
- People from other countries, as well as UAE nationals, who are working in the UAE in the economic, technological, technical, or service sectors based on equivalence.
Registering a Trademark in the UAE
The registration procedure for trademarks is straightforward in the UAE due to the country’s Trademark Law. Before applying for trademark registration, it is necessary to conduct a Trademark Search to see if the trademark is already in use in the nation.
This is typically confirmed by searching for the trademark in question systematically and exhaustively. Afterward, the trademark application will be sent to the relevant trademark division within the UAE Ministry of Economy. An approval decision will be made once the application is reviewed and accepted. The initial term of protection for the trademark is ten years, with an additional ten-year extension available.
Guidelines for Trademark Registration in the UAE
Trademark registration in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may appear simple and straightforward at first glance, but the process is often more involved than expected. Mistakes in the trademark application process are fatal and will result in the trademark being denied. On average, registering a trademark takes about 4 months.
Following is a detailed breakdown of the process required to register a trademark in the United Arab Emirates:
1. Research on Trademarks
The first thing we need to do before submitting a trademark application does research to check if the trademark we desire is already registered. A trademark search will reveal this information. If the trademark has already been registered by another company, you cannot use it. Once the appropriate trademark is available, only then can the trademark registration process begin.
2. Submission of an Application Form
To file for a trademark, an application form must be downloaded and filled out. The e-services portal of the Ministry of Economy is where you may find the form. The following documents must be included when applying for registration:
- Power of Attorney
- Sample of Trademark Design
- Trade License
- List of Goods and Services to be Protected
- Contact Details of the Applicant
- Identity Card or Passport of the person who will sign the Application.
Submission of the Application Fee
After gathering the necessary information and documentation, you will need to pay a trademark registration fee to formally register your brand. You can submit this payment through the e-services portal maintained by the Ministry of Economy. In the United Arab Emirates, the cost to register a trademark is supposedly around AED 8700. You may also be required to pay additional court fees or translation charges.
3. Final Assessment by the Ministry of Economy
Following receipt of your payment, the Ministry of Economy will evaluate your application. Your application for a trademark will be denied if there is any sort of error, such as an incomplete question or an erroneous response. It is possible to submit a new application after making the necessary changes to an earlier one that was denied. In the absence of any objections, you will be granted trademark approval in 30 days.
4. Publication in the Two Local Arabic-Language Newspapers
After receiving clearance for the registration of your trademark in the UAE, you must publish an announcement of your trademark in the official journal and two local newspapers. The Ministry of Economy will publish your trademark in the official trademark journal for a fee of AED 1.000. But applicants will also have to pay extra to put an announcement of the trademark in two local Arabic-language newspapers.
Among the local publications where you might publicize your trademark registration are:
- Al Khaleej
- Al Watan
- Al Ittihad
- Al Bayan
- Al Wahda
The public in the UAE will have 30 days to file an objection to your trademark after it has been advertised in two Arabic-language newspapers. Within that time frame, the Ministry of Economy will consider any opposition to your trademark and either reject it or notify you of its decision.
5. Complete Trademark Registration
After that period, if no one has raised any concerns about your trademark, the UAE Ministry of Economy will provide you with a certificate of registration. Information such as the trademark’s registration number, trade name, owner’s name, the trademark itself, and a description of the goods and services it covers will all be included on the certificate.
The process of trademark registration consists of the following six steps. Registration of a trademark grants protection for the brand for ten years and allows for subsequent renewals for an additional ten years, following payment of a fee. You should know that this trademark licensing process can only protect your brand in the United Arab Emirates. Trademarks fall under the umbrella term of “Intellectual Property Rights,” which covers much more ground.
6. Trademark Renewal Process in the UAE
Trademark registration can be renewed within three months after its expiration date. However, in the United Arab Emirates, there is a penalty of AED 1,000 for every month that the trademark renewal is overdue.
It’s the same procedure used for registration that’s used for the renewal of a trademark in the UAE. If you go to the Ministry of Economy’s website and select ‘Trademarks’ from the Services page, you’ll find a link to the Modification and Maintenance Services section. Click “Trademark Renewal” from the subsequent menu. You’ll need to fill out an application and include a copy of your previous registration certificate. Once the fee for renewing your trademark registration has been paid, the registration will be renewed within the following month.
The renewal fee is AED 6,700, which must be paid along with the application.
Trademark Violation Consequences
When you register a trademark, no one else can use that mark on their products without your permission. Trademark violation is a serious crime in the UAE, with serious penalties awaiting those who commit the offense. Anyone caught using another’s trademark without permission faces at least five years in prison and a fine of AED 5,000.
Infringement of the Trademark is claimed to have occurred in the following circumstances:
- Anyone who knowingly uses a forged or copied trademark in business and also who forges or imitates a registered trademark with the intent to deceive the public is guilty of trademark infringement.
- Anyone who, in bad faith, displays or sells products bearing a licensed trademark that does not belong to them.
- Trademark infringement is committed by anybody who knowingly sells, negotiates the sale of, or obtains for sale products carrying a forged, imitated, or unlawfully placed trademark, as well as anyone who knowingly provides or proposes to supply services under a forged, imitated, or illegally placed trademark.
How to Cancel Your Trademark Registration in the UAE
Want to withdraw your trademark registration in the United Arab Emirates? Simply visit the website of the Ministry of Economy. Under Modification and Maintenance Services on the ‘Trademarks’ page, the option to “Cancel Registered Trademark by Owner Request” is provided.
Customers who seek to withdraw their already registered trademark can use this service by filling out the application and submitting the necessary documents. A copy of the former registration certificate is the primary document needed to cancel a trademark registration, while other documents may be needed depending on the specific circumstances.
The cancellation charge is AED 1,500, which must be paid once the application has been submitted. If your application is accepted, the cancellation process will be finalized once you have published notice of the cancellation in two Arabic-language publications in your area.
As a Business Owner, Why Trademark Registration is Important?
Having your belongings stolen is upsetting and can leave you feeling violated and unsafe for some time. If something like this has happened to you before, you have probably increased your level of safety precautions and insurance coverage to prevent a similar outcome. However, many people don’t realize that intellectual property theft even exists.
If you want to prevent others from profiting off your name or your ideas, you should register a trademark. This will cover all of your products and brands and provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your intellectual property is safe.
Do you want to file for trademark protection in the United Arab Emirates? Trademark registration in the United Arab Emirates might be expensive, but our skilled company setup experts will help you through the entire process, from estimating the cost to filing the necessary paperwork.