A trademark is a distinct symbol, word, logo or multiple words or logos that are registered or established legally through their use as representing an enterprise or the brand of a product. A trademark protects logos and brand names used on services as well as goods. Trademarks are intellectual property rights that are protected by law. Trademarks are different from patents, which protect inventions, and copyright, which protect an original work of authorship.
The trademark law in UAE was introduced in its Federal Law No.37 of 1992 on Trademarks The main purpose of a trademark is brand recognition. Trademarks serve as an assurance to the consumer that products or the company bearing the trademark are of a well-known brand and reliable quality. To put it in simple words, trademarks protect consumers from using fake brands or counterfeit products. Accordingly, trademarks help in standing out amongst the competition by protecting the goodwill of the enterprise that owns the mark.
Trade Mark Authority in UAE
For the purpose of trademark registration, the Trademarks Office- Ministry of Economy is the authority in charge. However, for the Enforcement of trademarks
- The IPR (Intellectual Property rights) Department- DED (Department of Economic Development)
- The ECD (Economic Crimes Department)- CID (Criminal Investigation Department)
- Ministry of Justice
- Customs Department
What Can Be Considered as a Trademark?
Any form of distinctive seals letters, numbers, words, logos, hallmarks, titles, advertisements packs. marks or group of marks that are to be used to distinguish or differentiate between goods or services is allowed to be registered as a trademark.
What Is Prohibited from Being Registered as a Trademark
There are a few things that cannot be registered as a trademark, they are
- Descriptive Marks or marks that are not distinctive
- Any mark that violates public morals or public order
- Flags similar to that of any country, international organisations, governments which cannot be used unless authorised by a foreign authority. Emblems and logos of a similar kind are prohibited
- Logos of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent or any other imitation of such similar organisations is prohibited.
- Marks that are similar to symbols having a purely religious character
- Use of Geographic names that may cause confusion as to the origin of a product or service is also prohibited
- National Medals, International Medals, Banknotes as well as coins
- A translated version of a well-known mark or an already registered trademark if such translation would cause confusion to the consumers.
Requirements for a Trademark
There are some documents to be provided before registering a trademark. Additional info also may have to be submitted.
- Nationality, name and address of the trademark owner
- Nature of business for which the trademark will be used
- A visual representation of the mark
- Meaning or significance of the mark if the mark is not in Arabic
- A power of attorney from the holder, duly notarized as well as legalised at the consulate of UAE. However if the notarisation is done at UAE, no legalisation is required
- If priority is being claimed, all details regarding the priority application as well as an approved copy of the priority document.
Regions Covered Under a UAE Trademark
A UAE trademark registration is protected in the emirates of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain.
Domain Names under Trademark
A domain name in the UAE can be owned by companies as well as individuals without the need for any local presence. The domain name, however, has to be registered with the authority in the UAE, which is the .aeDa. A domain name is only protected if it is registered under the Trademark law of the UAE . Usually, to avail protection for a Domain name, an unfair competition lawsuit is filed in the court to enforce the rights in domain names.
Remedies Available for Trademark Infringement
In case of infringement, the following remedies can be sought depending upon where the action is initiated
- Confiscation and destruction of the goods
- Interim as well as permanent injunctions
- Damages and compensation
- Imprisonment of infringer with fine
- Temporary Ban on operations of the Business Enterprise
The stronger the trademark, the better protection it will have. The best trademarks are suggestive original, arbitrary, descriptive, fanciful, and totally unexpected. Trademarks that are basic or that inadequately showcase and describe products or brands usually receive less protection. Descriptive trademarks also can be registered, but they are weak. A strong mark is said to have a not so obvious connection to the services or brands.
Registration of trademarks in the UAE might seem like a tenuous job without help. Our team of experts at Commitbiz can offer our expert advice and provide a hassle-free trademark registration. Feel free to contact us, and we'd be more than happy to help.