The UAE offers opportunities in all business sectors with its hospitable business climate and has become home to multinational companies and entrepreneurs.

Setting up of company in UAE is a strategic decision and investors must consider various aspect before choosing the right structure and jurisdiction for setting up company. However, it is often seen that many investors tend to forget or ignore a very important aspect post-incorporation which is, registration of their trademark. Here, we will discuss in detail what a trademark is, the importance of registration of trademark, and how to register a trademark in UAE.

What is a trademark?

Trademark is defined under Article 2 of Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 on Trademarks (“UAE Trademark Law”) as under:

Shall be considered a trade mark anything having a distinctive form such as names, words, signatures, letters, figures, drawings, logos, titles, hallmarks, seals, pictures, engravings, advertisements, packs or any other mark or group of marks if used or intended to be used either to distinguish goods, products or services whatever their source or to indicate that the goods or products belong to the trade mark’s owner due to its manufacturing, selection or trading or to indicate the rendering of a service.

The voice shall be considered as part of the trademark if it accompanies it.”

All trademarks in UAE are registered under the UAE Trademark Law.

Why is registration of trademark important?

Registering your Trademark in the UAE is important for the following reasons:

  • It provides protection to your brand by restricting the use of your mark by others.
  • It can be used as a marketing tool to grow your brand and set yourself apart from your competitors.
  • You can authorize another person to use the trademark in return for a licensing fee.
  • You can sue someone in the UAE who copies your trademark or uses it without authorized permission.
  • A registered trademark with goodwill can drastically increase the value of your business in case of resale.

How to register your trademark?

The Ministry of Economy is the regulatory and registering authority for all Trademark, Patents and Copyrights in UAE. The registration of Trademark in UAE goes through following process:

1. Trademark search

Trademark search at the Trademark Registry helps you find out whether anyone else has prior rights to your proposed trademark. This essentially helps you determine if your application will have chances for success. This step is highly recommended before any trademark application is filed in the UAE.

2. Filing of trademark

Upon completion of a successful trademark search, the application for registration of trademark can be submitted to the trademark registry mentioning the appropriate trademark class along with other required documents.

3. Publication in the trademark journal

Once the application is submitted, the trademark under registration will be advertised in the Ministry of Economy’s official trademark journals. Applicants will have a 30-day deadline to pay publication fees to the Ministry failing which the trademark application will lapse.

4. Publications in two Arabic newspapers

The Trademark also needs to be published in two local Arabic newspapers. Any interested party may file a notice of opposition to the registered trademark within 30 days from the date of publication. The registration process will begin if there are no oppositions after the publication. Normally its takes between 8 to 12 months for registration of trademark with the Ministry.

5. Registration fee

In case no opposition is lodged within the time limit above, a trademark is registered by paying the registration fee and a certificate of registration is issued. A trademark once registered will be valid for 10 years which will be renewable for further periods of 10 years each.

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Neelesh Pillai

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