Trademark Registration in UAE A trademark includes any symbol, mark, name or combination used to or intended to distinguish between the services and goods of one business to another. It also acts as an indicator of the source or provider of such goods and services. Though a business doesn't need to acquire and register a trademark from the trademark office, certain advantages are attached to trademark registration, such as exclusive right over theownership of the mark and exclusive right to nationwide usage of the mark in connection with the goods and services listed in the registration. People make their decisions based on the trademark, which is why more than 100 trademarks are filed daily in the UAE. What is a trademark? As per the Federal Decree-Law No. 36 of 2021, a trademark can be any distinguished form of words, names, letters, graphics, figures, titles, logos, seals, hallmarks, patterns, pictures, packs, announcements or any other mark or a group of marks that are used to distinguish goods, services and products from whatever sources or to indicate that certain goods, services and products belong to the owner of the trademark on the grounds of their provision, selections, manufacturing or trading. Even the voice associated with the mark is considered a part of the trademark. The competent authority for trademark registration in the UAE The Ministry of Economy is the Competent Authority for registering trademarks in the UAE. For registering a trademark in the UAE, the applicant must apply to the Ministry's website. Eligibility to Register Trademark in the UAE As defined in the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 36 of 2021 on Trademarks, the following persons have been permitted to register trademarks in the UAE: Any UAE citizen, whether a natural or artificial person, that has been involved in the commercial, professional, industrial or service business can register a trademark in UAE. Any foreign individual or entity that has been involved in the UAE's commercial, professional, industrial or service business can register their trademark in UAE. Any foreigner, natural or artificial person that has been involved in any country's commercial, professional, industrial or service business on the basis of reciprocity. Other artificial persons. The last point makes the eligibility to register a trademark extend to any artificial person, allowing any artificial legal entity to file for trademark registration in the UAE. What cannot be trademarked in the UAE According to the law of the land, the following cannot be registered as a trademark: A mark that does not have any property or a distinctive character or made of data being only the name given by the customers to the foods and services or familiar drawings and ordinary pictures of the goods and services; The expressions, markings or graphics that breach public morals or violate public order cannot be registered; The public emblems, national honours, national and foreign decorations, flags, banknotes, coins, or other similar symbols of the state, countries, Arab or any other International organisations, or any of their imitations; Symbols of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and other similar imitations of thereof; Marks that are similar or identical to symbols having a religious nature; Geographical data or names create confusion w.r.t the origin of goods and services The third party's name, surname, nickname, picture or logo without their or their heir's approval. Particulars of an academic degree or honorary degrees over which the applicant does not prove their legal entitlement Marks misleading the public or contain false information w.r.t. the origin of the goods and services and trademarks containing a name owned by others. Juristic or physical persons own marks, and the law in force prohibits dealing with them. A trademark that is similar to another that has been previously filed and registered for the same services or goods or related goods and services if that trademark can create the impression that they are linked to the goods or services of the registered trademark owner or leads to harming their interests A mark that reduces the value of the goods or services distinguished by a previous registered trademarks. A mark that is a copy, imitation, localisation or an AV translation of a well-known trademark A trademark that uses the expressions or terms such as Concession Registered, Concessionaire, Registered Drawing, Copyright or other similar terms and expressions. Any three-dimensional mark consisting of a shape that results from the nature of goods mentioned in the registration application or is necessary to achieve a technical result without having any substantive elements that distinguish it from others. Procedure of filling out the Trademark registration form On receiving the application for trademark registration, the examiner at the Trademark Registry processes the application in the following stages: Submission of the Application to the Ministry of Economy Application referred to the concerned department Publication in the newspaper Publication of the mark in the trademark’s bulletin Period of Objection Acceptance of trademark Fines in case of delay in Registration of the trademark Submission of the Application to the Ministry of Economy - The first step in registering a trademark in the UAE begins with submitting an application for registration with the Ministry of Economy. The Ministry of Economy is the UAE's supervisory authority for trademark registration. The applicant is required to visit the website of the Ministry concerned and file an application for the registration of the trademark. Application referred to the concerned department - On submission of the application, the Ministry transfers the application to the concerned department for further processing and the decision of the department on the application is notified to the applicant within 30 days from the submission date. Publication in the newspaper - On acceptance of the application by the concerned department, it is incumbent on the applicant to publish the trademark announcement in at least 2 local Arabic newspapers for at least one day. The applicant itself shall bear the expenses for the publication in the newspapers. Publication of the mark in the trademark’s bulletin - Another publication is made in the trademark bulletin after the publication in the newspaper. This bulletin is released at the end of every month. This exercise aims to get the proposed trademark out to the public and allow them to raise an objection if they feel that the proposed trademark is similar to their own trademark or violates existing rules and regulations. Period of Objection - The law provides a window of 30 days to allow the filing of any objection related to the proposed trademark. A person can raise objections against the validity of the trademark based on its design or any other aspect related to the trademark. Acceptance of trademark - Suppose no objections are raised during the period of 30 days, and the window for raising objections lapses. In that case, the proposed trademark gets registered within a period of 30 days by the concerned authority in the trademarks register. Fines in case of delay of Registration of the trademark - In case there has been any delay in payment of trademark publication, the minimum late fee that can be charged is AED 100 and the maximum fee that can be imposed is AED 1,000 annually. If the applicant delays in making payment of the trademark registration fee, the minimum late fee that can be imposed is AED 1,000 and the maximum fee that can be imposed is AED 10,000 annually. Checklist for the application form for Trademark registration in the UAE The following documents are required to be submitted while making an application for the registration of a trademark in the UAE: Copy of the Commercial License is required in case the application is made in the name of the company or institution Trademark logo Original Power of Attorney is needed if a power of attorney is made through a registered trademark registration agent who has been registered in the trademark register (to be submitted within 30 days of filing) Copy of the passport The certified copy of the Priority document in both Arabic and English Other attachments A license is not required if the application is made in the personal name and the trademark owner is from UAE. Where the trademark owner belongs to a foreign country, such a person must submit the application through a registered agent and attach the legal and notarised power of attorney. It is worth mentioning that all the documents submitted in the UAE for intellectual property registrations must be submitted in both Arabic and English. Procedure for Trademark renewal in the UAE The application for the renewal of a trademark in UAE is AED 5,750. The documents required for the trademark registration renewal are the same as those provided at the time of registration. The renewal process should begin in the last year of the expiry of the registration. However, the law permits another 3 months post-expiry of the trademark registration, failing which a late fee is imposed. Following is the registration renewal process: The application for renewal is made to the Ministry of Economy (MoE) The MoEthen transfers the application to the concerned department for approval, and the department's decision is notified to the applicant. The applicant must pay the applicable fee, after which an announcement is made in at least 2 local Arabic newspapers. This is done at the applicant's own expense. This publication is done in just one day. The scanned copy of the local publication is uploaded to the same online application to obtain the renewal certificate. Finally, the trademark is published in the trademark bulletin. Penalties for infringement of Trademark in the UAE According to the UAE law on trademarks, a trademark is said to be infringed in the following circumstances: If any person forges a trademark or imitates the trademark intending to mislead the public and any person who imitates/forges a trademark in bad faith; Any person who uses a registered trademark in bad faith without holding the rights or permission to use such trademark; If anyone offers for sale or distributes counterfeit goods and services with the registered mark. If trademark infringement is found in any of the above-mentioned cases, it may lead to confiscation of the infringing product. It may also result in imprisonment and a minimum fine of AED 5,000.