The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an attractive business destination because of its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is also known for its stable political environment and supportive business policies, making it an ideal choice for companies looking to expand their regional operations. Protecting your brand and intellectual property is essential for businesses operating in the UAE, and trademark registration is the first step in achieving that goal. In this article, we will explore the process of trademark registration in the UAE, including the requirements, fees, and time frames involved.
What can be registered as a trademark in the UAE?
A trademark is a unique symbol to identify and distinguish a specific brand. In the United Arab Emirates, you can register a wide range of items as a trademark, including
- Symbols and logos,
- Combinations of the above,
- Three-dimensional shapes,
To register a trademark in the UAE, it is also necessary to classify the goods or services according to the International Classification of Goods and Services. It’s a system used worldwide to ensure consistency in the registration process. Multi-class applications are not available in the UAE. You need to register a separate trademark for each group of goods or services.
Why can you be refused to register a trademark in the UAE?
A trademark can be refused registration for relative and absolute grounds. Absolute grounds for refusal are based on objective standards, while relative grounds consider the likelihood of confusion between the new and the existing one.
For example, a trademark registration in the UAE can be refused if another company already has a similar trademark used for similar goods or services. This is because it could create confusion and harm the interests of the original trademark owner.
Absolute grounds why a trademark is not subject to registration in the UAE are the following:
- it does not have a distinctive character or consists only of elements representing the name or image of the product/service;
- it violates public morality or public order;
- it’s similar to state emblems, flags, military and honorary emblems, national and foreign awards, coins, banknotes and other symbols of the state, Arab or international organizations, etc.;
- it’s similar to the Red Crescent or Red Cross symbols and other logos and signs of that kind;
- it’s identical or similar to symbols of religious nature;
- it’s a geographical name, if its use may create confusion as to the origin of the goods/services;
- it’s a name, nickname, image, logo or surname of a third party, unless there is written consent of that party;
- it contains false information about the origin of the goods/services or their other characteristics;
- it contains the trademarks of other persons;
- it is a copy, imitation, translation or localization of a well-known trademark or its part, if such use infringes the interests of the owner;
- it includes the following terms: concession, concessionaire, registered, registered drawing, copyright or other similar terms and expressions.
The process of trademark registration in the UAE
The first step in the trademark registration process is to conduct a UAE trademark search to ensure that the proposed mark is available and not similar to any existing ones. You can search online, through the Ministry of Economy’s website, or a legal counsel. You can use a free worldwide trademark search service instead.
Once the search is complete, you can file an application with the Ministry of Economy. The Ministry will examine the application to ensure that it meets the legal requirements for registration. This includes checking for any similarities with existing trademarks and verifying that the mark is distinctive and not in violation of any laws or regulations. The examination process can take up to 90 days, depending on the complexity of the application.
If the application is accepted, it will be published in the Official Gazette for opposition. This allows third parties to object to the mark’s registration within 30 days of publication if they believe it will infringe on their rights.
If there are no objections, the mark will be registered and you will receive a registration certificate. The protection lasts for 10 years from the registration date. To maintain its protection, you must renew the registration every 10 years. The renewal process can be done online or through legal counsel.
Additionally, if you own a trademark on goods or services displayed at an exhibition, you can ask for temporary protection for the trademark during the event. You’ll need to apply for the protection at least one month before the exhibition starts and pay the necessary fees. The temporary protection ends when the exhibition is over.
Documents required for the registration of a trademark in the UAE
To apply for the registration of a trademark in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you need to file the following documents:
- Trademark application form specifying details about the trademark, the goods or services for which you will use it, and the applicant’s details.
- An authorized power of attorney (if an agent or attorney files the application on behalf of the applicant).
- A copy of the priority claim document (if applicable).
You should file the application in Arabic or English; if the application is in another language, you must provide translated documents. You should submit the original power of attorney within 30 days from the date of application. It also requires legalization at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which can be handled by a local agent.
Trademark opposition process in the UAE
Within 30 days after the publication of the application, any interested party may file an objection. A copy of the protest is sent to the applicant, who must provide a written response within 30 days; otherwise, it will be considered a concession of the application.
Next, the competent department sets a date for the hearing and notifies the parties. The party wishing to attend the hearing is required to pay a fee. After the hearing, the department informs both parties of its reasoned decision.
If you were refused to register a trademark, you might file a complaint with the Complaints Committee. You can challenge the conclusion of the Complaints Committee in court within 30 days of receipt of the notice.
Trademark registration in the UAE: costs
Government fees of trademark registration in the UAE:
Filing an application
Publication of an application
License / pledge / alienation
Changing the copyright holder
Trademark registration cost in the UAE via the iPNOTE platform starts from as low as $2,100 ($350 – attorney service charge and $1,750 – official fees), which covers all government fees as well as document preparation. Find the best UAE trademark attorney on iPNOTE.
When applying for a trademark registration in the UAE, you will need to consider a bunch of things. For instance, what can and cannot be registered as a trademark, the required documents, the steps and duration of the overall registration process, the fees for application, registration and renewal, etc. Even if you’ve gone through a similar process in another country, it’s highly advisable to find a local attorney to assist you along the way since it will save you lots of time and effort.
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