A Guide to Intellectual Property Rights in UAE

Intellectual Property Rights in UAE

In recent years, UAE has been an attractive choice for entrepreneurs, business people and investors for starting their new ventures due to numerous advantages that the country offers.Despite being a relatively young nation the progress and growth of the country are significant. The state has punched above its weight in various sectors such as finance, international trade, manufacturing, oil & gas, innovation and renewable energy.

The United Arab Emirates is formed by a federation of seven emirates Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah which adhere to the federal laws, observe a centralized Constitutional structure and unified international policy, meanwhile each emirate handles its governance on its own following the federal rules. Furthermore, the country has a well-formulated legal system that offers protection for its citizens, residents and organisations while enforcing it effectively through governmental agencies and Ministries. Additionally, the free zones in the UAE have played an essential role in accelerating innovation and the country's economy. It hasencouraged the businesses, companies to start their companies in the country with low taxes, cutting-edge infrastructure whileoffering a global reach.

 The Constitutional of UAE has passed federal laws which protect the Intellectual Property rights in the country, and these are laws are pieces of federal legislation that apply throughout the Emirates. These laws are assigned to be enforced by the designated Ministries according to its authority, where the patents, designs, copyrights and trademarks are held responsible by the Federal Ministry of Economy.

What is an Intellectual Property in the UAE?

Intellectual Property refers to the creations of the mind including inventions which can be literary or artistic works, names and symbols or images used in commerce. The intellectual property is divided into two categories

  • Industrial Property which comprises of patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications
  • Copyright covers literary works (including novels, poems, and plays), films, music, artistic works (drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures) and architectural designs. These rights also include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and broadcasters in their radio and television programs

Advantages of Acquiring Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the UAE

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

Types of Intellectual Property


A patent is an exclusive right granted for any new inventions or set of procedures resulting from an innovative idea or innovative enhancement to an existing in product or imagination that is designed or implemented on a scientific basis and capable of industrial exploitation or produces value for the user. The invention may be a device or product or process or application of a new method. The utility certificates may be granted for latest inventions & designs that are capable of industrial application but result from an insufficient level of innovation to obtain a patent.

What cannot be Patented according to the Laws

  • Principles, discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods are not patentable
  • In addition to this, methods of treatment of human beings and animals that includes diagnostics, therapeutic, & surgical methods necessary for the medical treatment are excluded from patentability
  • Business methods, processes and procedure used for operations cannot be protected under patents

2.Industrial Design Right

An industrial design refers to an ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article or tool. The industrial design may consist of three-dimensional features, such as the shape of an article, or two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or colour.

An Industrial Design Rights protect your design from infringement, while offering your product or design an edge in the market and secures the design legally from being copied, imprinted, unauthorised imitation or sold without your permission. IPR's helps to ensure a fair returnon your investment. An effectivesystem of protection also benefitsconsumers and the public at large,by promoting fair competition andhonest trade practices, encouragingcreativity and promoting moreaesthetically pleasing products.

Besides, the owner of anindustrial design patent has the right to prevent third parties from making, selling or importing articles bearing or embodying a design which is a copy, or substantially a copy, of the protected design, when such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes.

The Industrial designs are applied to a wide variety of products of industry and handicraft items. This list includes packages, containers, furnishing materials, homeappliances, lighting equipment, jewellery, electronic devices, fabrics, textiles, technical products, medical instruments, watches, luxury goods, and household goods. Industrial designs rights may also be issued to relevant graphic symbols, graphical user interfaces (GUI), and logos of innovative creation. Moreover, the industrial designs may also be protected as works of art under copyright law.


Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works. Works covered by copyright range from books, music, paintings, sculpture and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.

4.Trade Mark

The trademarks are designed to protect brands, the name of the product associated with the product or service is called the trademark. A trademark is anything by which customers can identify a product or the source of a product, such as a name associated with the product. Typically, that would be the words that you use to refer to your product or service. When the brand or trademark is made up of words, we refer to this as a wordmark.The most common types of trademarks are wordmarks, logos, and slogans.

How are the IPR’s Enforced in the Country?

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has created numerous initiatives towards Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection and established various steps towards the IPR implementation and regulation through its enforcement agencies. The country has relatively new IP laws with well-established procedures and regulations. Initially, applications were accepted by the UAE Patent Office, located in Abu Dhabi.

Currently, the UAE Patent Office is partnered with the Austrian Patent Office since 2000, which empowers Austrian examiners to examine applications filed in the UAE. Since 2014, the UAE Patent Office has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of South Korea for cooperation on intellectual property rights, particularly in the field of patents.  The agreement included collaborative arrangements between the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the UAE Ministry of Economy for the examination of UAE patent applications and the development of the local capabilities of the UAE Patent Office.

The fast economic growth of the country has led to significant rise in the number of patent applications being filed in UAE, this surge in the patent applications is due to the increase in the country’s innovation, the rapid growth of the knowledge-based companies, and expansion of the non-oil sectors of business in UAE.

To strengthen its position in the Intellectual Property Rights regulations, the UAE is a member of a number of international and regional treaties and bodies; it is possible to take advantage of these conventions when considering patent protection in the UAE.

  • World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Convention
  • World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Copyright Treaty
  • Berne Convention for the Protection Literary and Artistic Work
  • The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
  • The Paris Convention for the Protection Industrial Property 1-3-1996
  • The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
  • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Laws with the accession of the UAE to the Copyrights and neighbouringrights Agreement

Why Register your Intellectual Property in UAE?

By registering your Intellectual Property in UAE you or your organisation is entitled to the protection of the patent, copyright or trademark from the UAE governmental authorities from infringement or misuse or unauthorised usage or alterations in illegal forms. The IPR allows you to have an upper edge in the market by safeguarding and implementing your innovation while enabling you to reap more profits.

Key Intellectual Property Laws in Force

Patents & Designs

Federal Law for Patents, Designs and Industrial Models Law No. 17 of 2002(PDL)

The Patents, Designs and Industrial Models Law, No. 17 of 2002, which protects a patent for up to 20 years and a utility patent for ten years. Patents need to be worked within four years of filing. Designs are protected for up to 15 years from the date of registration.


Federal Law for Copyrights Law No. 7 of 2002 (CRL)

The Copyright Law No. 7 of 2002, which is optional, grants protection for the lifetime of the author plus 25 years. The laws apply to cinematographic films, works of art, works made by corporate bodies and works of art published under pen names. Photographic works note that Photographic works are protected for ten years only.


Federal Trademarks Law No. 8 of 2002 amending the 1992 (TML)

Trademark Law No. 8 of 2002, under this law; trademarks in UAE are valid for ten years from the date of filing and can be renewed for periods of 10 years.

Ministry of Economy UAE - Intellectual Properties Sectors

The intellectual property sections consist of the departments vary in their roles like follows

Trade Mark Department

  • The implementation of the federal law No. 37 for the year 1992 regarding the trademarks and its variations, and the protection of the owners of the trademarks
  • Receive the applications to register the trademark, inspect it, execute the follow-up procedures on the announcement, object the brand, and issue the trademark certificates
  • Renew, cancel, alter, transfer the trademark or allow using it as per the related regulations
  • Receive complains and follow up on the cases related to the trademarks in the specialised courts
  • Release the Trade Marks Issues
  • Follow up on all international agreements and coordinate with the international organisations specialised in trademarks

International Center for Patent Registration

  • Implementing the federal law No. 31 for the year 2006 as a variation of the federal law no. 17 for the year 2002 and its variations regarding regulating and protecting the industrial property of the patents, the designs, prototypes, know-how, and the contractual licenses
  • Receive the applications for the patents, the designs, and the prototypes, inspect them and issue certificates. Submit the suggestions towards improving the production and export circumstances through raising the competition and quality of national industrial exports for international and neighbouring markets
  • Receive complains, and aggrieving related to patents, and dealing with it as per the law and follow up the cases in the courts
  • Establishing a database for the international patents and coordinate the communication and the relations with the international centres that certify the patents, and release an issue for the industrial property, and contributing to technology transfer
  • The coordination and follow up on international agreements in the area of industrial property
  • Collecting the fees on registering the elements of the industrial property

Copy Right Department

  • Implementing the federal law No. 7 for the year 2002 regarding the copyrights and its variations, and protecting the innovators as stated in the law
  • Receiving the applications to register the rights and deposit the records of the ordinary people and the recognised people
  • Receive complains, and follow up the cases in the courts
  • The communication, the participation and the coordination with the international organisations specialised in the copyrights and intellectual property, and follow up on the now legislations
  • Store a database of the copyrighted records and categorise them

Innovation, excellence and fair business policies are believed to an essential principle in the UAE's trajectory to economic growth.

Meanwhile, the UAE is investing heavily on its infrastructure to create a world-class environment for innovation and business growth.It would be wise for those doing or planning toregister a business in the UAE to consider patent protection inside the country as a means for protecting their investments and increasing their market share against their competitors. If you need any information regarding starting a business in the UAE, feel free to contact us with your queries. Our experts are ready to provide you with all the necessary information.

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