What Exactly Is Intellectual Property Law in the UAE?

Intellectual Property Law Definition

The UAE has an effective IP system and is a signatory to a range of transnational 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. Registration of intellectual property rights, including the ability to trademark a logo,allows you to monetize and protect your invention and in the other hand the consumers can be secured that they are purchasing safe and guaranteed product. 

Protecting businesses and individuals

Intellectual property covers any original ideas, designs, discoveries, inventions and creative work produced by an individual or group. Copyright, trademark, patent and design are some of the most common types of IP protection. The intellectual property protection is not only protecting the innovations, but also allows the owner of the intellectual property to benefit from the innovation to the exclusion of all others for a definite period of time.

An organization that owns IP can monetize the same through its own processes and also by allowing external parties to utilize the IP by entering into agreements for licensing and royalty rights. There are five distinct intellectual property rights that are recognized in the UAE

  • Trademarks; 
  • Copyrights; 
  • Patents; 
  • Protection of industrial designs
  • Confidential information. 

The competent authority in charge of regulating and supervising all matters relating to intellectual property rights in the UAE is the Ministry of Economy. The UAE does not have a comprehensive intellectual property law, but a various number of laws are in place governing the different types of intellectual property rights: the Trademark Federal Law No. 37 of 1992, as amended, which regulates the protection of trademarks and trade names, the Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 on Author’s Rights and Neighboring Rights, and the Federal Industrial Property Law No. 17 of 2002, as amended.

The UAE is also a member of the GCC and, therefore, applies the GCC unified patent law. There is a new unified draft GCC trademark law in the pipeline. Moreover, the UAE is a party to a number of international treaties, including the following: The Convention Establishing the WIPO 1967 

WIPO Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, 1971 (Berne Convention) 

WIPO Madrid Protocol for the international registration of trademarks.

WIPO Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations 1961 (Rome Convention) 

WIPO Copyright Treaty, 1996 

 Paris Convention 

World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, 1994 (RIPS) 

Benefits of Registering IP in the UAE

Registering an intellectual property in the UAE has many benefits for your company for protecting the IP rights and avoiding future possible disputes that might arise. By registering your Intellectual Property in the UAE you or your company is entitled to the protection of the patent, copyright or trademark from the UAE governmental authorities from infringement or mistreat or unauthorized usage or alterations in illegal forms. The Intellectual property rights allow you to have a higher spot in the market by protecting and implementing your innovation while enabling you to gain more profits. Benefits of registering intellectual property in the UAE:

  • Protect your patents and copyrights against infringements;
  • Protects your innovative inventions;
  • Allows you to sell your products at a premium;
  • Secures your research and creations;
  • Authorizes your licenses legally;
  • Provides exclusive judicial protection of your IP rights;
  • Gives your business a competitive edge in the international market.

Enforcing IP Rights in the UAE

Enforcement of Intellectual property rights takes place generally at the emirate-level.  Nevertheless, more effective coordinated cooperation is required with the different emirates and customs to control the transshipment of counterfeit products. 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 violation 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 violation is punishable by imprisonment and/or fine of AED 5000.

A new Commercial Fraud Law aimed at combating counterfeit goods and other commercial fraud was issued in December 2016, replacing the previous commercial fraud legislation. The new law is intended to enhance the enforcement mechanisms of existing intellectual property rights. The law imposes stricter penalties on counterfeiters and further enhances brand owners’ rights (it is now an offense to possess counterfeits, indeed where the intellectual property holder is unable to prove that the counterfeiter intends to sell them).

The Commercial Fraud Law reserves the maximum penalties for pharmaceutical and food products, but even those who deal in counterfeit goods outside these categories may be fined up to AED 250,000. The authorities also have the power to close stores that sell counterfeit products, and repeat offenders may have their trade licenses cancelled. The law covers fraud in goods, contractual jobs and services offered by businesses across the UAE, including free zone companies.

 8 Key Terms in Licensing Agreement Under Intellectual Property is another article for further information regarding IP.


Intellectual property in the major context is beneficial for the world as it encourages innovation and development. Without recognition and protection of the intellectual property rights, the individuals would not be allowed to obtain the benefits of the inventions and lead on to further research and development. Furthermore, intellectual property rights play a crucial part in providing a high boost to the economy of the countries and developing the business sector. 

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