Every organisation has a distinct identity. Be it a business, NGO, hospital, restaurant, textile store etc. Every product has a name and status with which it's sold. If a company is consistent, then the business becomes a favourite, and the industry is remembered by the name and logo, for consumers to identify it elsewhere. If someone else used the name of the accessible business and sold sub-standard products or rendered poor services, then the name of the business would be tarnished. This is exactly what a trademark looks to prevent.
UAE is a well-known destination in the world now and has witnessed a growth like no other. The presence of some of the biggest companies in the UAE makes it mandatory to protect all the rights of all businesses. UAE’s trademark law seeks to protect the name and brand of these businesses. There no is a better time to start a business in the UAE, than now.
What is a Trademark in the UAE?
A trademark in the UAE is considered as anything that is distinct and includes names, logos, words, seals, figures, drawings, hallmarks, engravings, advertisements, marks or groups of marks. These, however, have to be used to distinguish products and services in a manner to indicate the source or give the purchaser knowledge about the seller’s identity. E.g. If a shoe on which Nike is written and a tick next to the text is for sale at a store. It is understood that the shoe was manufactured by Nike. Thus the tick and the name is the trademark of Nike.
How is a Trademark Protected in the UAE?
Every trademark that is registered is given trademark protection in the UAE. The UAE imposes strict punishments on those who infringe trademarks. These include punishments for
- Anyone who forges a trademark that is registered under law or imitates the same mark in such a manner to mislead the public or if any person uses the mark with a bad intention ( to tarnish the image of the brand, to make illegal money)
- Any manufacturer who uses a trademark belonging to a third party and places it on their own products without any lawful authorisation.
- Anyone who wilfully sells acquires for sale, negotiates for products having a forged, illegal or imitated trademark with the intention of making a profit out of such sales or offers services with such illegal trademarks
The punishments for the above three offences are imprisonment and a fine of at least 5000 AED. If illegal products are confiscated at sea ports or airports, the court may order the products or the marks to be destroyed. In certain situations destroy the envelopes, tools, packing and any such objects bearing illegal data or marks. The machines or tools used for forging is also destroyed.
What Cannot be Protected Under Trademark Laws of UAE?
Not all logos, symbols or marks can be trademarked in the UAE. The following cannot be registered as trademarks
- A mark having no distinctive character or figures being only the name given by custom to acquainted goods, services, products or the ordinary pictures and drawings of products and goods.
- Any mark that violates public morals or that is against public order.
- Flags, Public emblems, and other symbols or logos, of the country, the Arab organisations or international organisations or institutions foreign or domestic other than by authorisation as well as any replication of their logos, flags and emblems.
- Using logos or emblems of the Red Cross or Red Crescent or any such other similar logos, symbols and marks are not allowed.
- Marks that are identical or similar to emblems, symbols or logos having only a purely religious character or trait are not allowed
- Geographically related names or names associated with places if the use of such a name would create visible confusion with respect to the source or origin of products, goods and services
- The picture, name, logo of a third party without their prior approval.
- Marks that are likely to mislead the public include false statements or misleading statements on the source or origin of goods, products or services or their other characteristics as well the marks that include forged, fictitious or imitated trade name
- Marks owned by entities, legal or natural with which any dealing is prohibited.
- The trademark whose registration for some categories of services or products that result in undervaluing of other services or products distinguished by such trademarks.
- Trademarks including the following words or expressions are also prohibited
- Registered, Concession, Registered Drawing, Copyright Concessionaire, Imitation is Considered Forgery or any similar expressions or words.
- Imitation of National coins, notes medals and official emblems or symbols.
Therefore it is important to note that to start a business in the UAE, it is mandatory to be aware of the trademark laws of the UAE.
Are you looking to start a business and register your trademark in the UAE? Our team at Commitbiz will offer the best solutions for all your intellectual property needs. Feel free to contact us, and we'd be ready to assist you.