A brand is a valuable asset. Companies usually invest a lot of time and money in the design, development and maintenance of a brand. If an entrepreneur uses a logo for his goods and services in the UAE, this logo should be registered as a trademark in the UAE. Otherwise, an entrepreneur has no means of preventing the competition from using the same or a similar brand. If the competitor registers the trademark first, he can even prohibit the entrepreneur from using the trademark and take legal action against him. The non-registration of a trademark can thus make business activity more difficult or even impossible.
There are currently more than 350,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE. Many of these SMEs differ only slightly from each other and offer similar goods and services. A brand can help to differentiate one’s own enterprise and its own goods and services from those of the competitor. In addition, brands can create a recognition value and thus help to distinguish themselves clearly from the competitor. Furthermore, a registered trademark offers an exclusive right of use. The trademark owner is permitted to take legal action against the unauthorized use of the trademark by a competitor.
Strohal Legal Group has recently successfully registered as UAE Trademark Agent with the Ministry of Economy. Thus, the law firm, which has existed in Ras Al Khaimah for 12 years, was able to further expand its service and now also supports its clients in trademark registration.
What is a brand?
The UAE Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 (UAE Trademark Law), as amended by Law No. 19 of 2000 and Law No. 8 of 2002, protects registered trademarks in the UAE and safeguards the interests of businesses and consumers. Under Article 2 of the UAE Trademark Law, a trademark is defined as a characteristic form that can distinguish the goods and services of one company from the goods and services of another company and unmistakably indicate affiliation to that company. Examples are letters, words, numerals, numbers, images, logos, etc.
Why is trademark registration recommended?
A registered trademark provides distinctiveness and protection against confusion between the goods and services of a company and those of its competitor. It is regarded as a unique selling point and can strongly differentiate and emphasize a company from its competitors.
In addition, the trademark owner can exclude others from using the same or similar trademark for similar products and services. The trademark owner can take legal action against infringements of the law and infringements resulting from unauthorised use of the trademark.
Well-known and widely used trademarks can achieve a high value and strengthen the company. Examples are the Google brand with a current value of approximately USD 229.20 billion, the Apple brand with a current value of approximately USD 228.46 billion, or the Facebook brand with a current value of approximately USD 102.55 billion, which is one of the most valuable brands today.
The licensing of brand rights to third parties can often generate significant assets for the company and the sale of well-known brands can generate high revenues for the company.
How is a trademark registered in the UAE?
Unfortunately, the UAE is not among the 97 member states that apply the Madrid System and allow international trademark registration for different countries through WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). For this reason, trademark applications for the UAE must be filed locally, i.e. in the UAE itself. However, the priority of the first trademark application to WIPO for any country can also be applied to a trademark application in the UAE if it is filed within 6 months. Then the trademark application date of the WIPO trademark will also apply to the UAE. This priority and an earlier filing date can be of enormous importance in the event of possible oppositions or later objections by other trademark owners.
The Ministry of Economy is the responsible authority for trademark applications in the UAE. However, trademark registrations in the UAE cannot be set up by the trademark owner himself, but only by a Registered Agent for Trademarks. This agent must be licensed by the Ministry of Economy and hold a corresponding license.
For a successful trademark registration, an application form in Arabic must be completed. In addition, all necessary documents must be translated into Arabic and submitted. If the authority approves the trademark application, it will be published in the Trademark Journal and in two Arabic newspapers. Subsequently, there is a 30-day period for filing an opposition against the trademark application. If no opposition is filed, a registration certificate will be send. The trademark is thus protected in all 7 Emirates of the UAE.
Which documents are required?
In the UAE, trademark applications can only be filed by an agent registered with the Ministry of Economy. The following documents are required for a successful trademark application:
- Power of Attorney for the Registered Agent,
- passport copy of the trademark owner,
- copy of trade license, MOA and COI if the trademark owner is a company,
- list of goods and services for which the marks are used,
- image of the brand.
The average duration of the trademark application is at least 6 to 9 months.
How much does the trademark registration cost?
While WIPO allows up to 3 classes to be applied for in one trade mark application, in the UAE a separate application must be filed for each class.
Cost per Class AED
Initial Search 506 AED
Application Fees 1.006 AED
Publication in UAE Gazette 1,006 AED
Publication in 2 local newspapers 1,120 AED
Final registration fees 10,000 AED
Total government fees 13,638 AED
The fees of the Ministry of Economy currently amount to 13,638 AED per class, plus the fees of the Registered Agent and cash expenses for translations, etc. A trademark application in the UAE is therefore at first glance not exactly a bargain, but can achieve great competitive advantages. In addition, a timely trademark application can avoid possible future damages caused by similar trademark applications of competitors and the associated prohibitions of use and court disputes.
How long is the trademark protected?
The trademark registration is valid for 10 years and the protective rights extend to all 7 Emirates of the UAE. The term of protection can be extended as often as desired by paying the renewal fee for a further 10 years. Currently the renewal fee of the Ministry of Economy is AED 13,000.
If you have any questions regarding trademark law, please contact us at email@example.com or Tel: +971 7 236 4530.