Identification transcends the barrier of human conflict and its desire to demonstrate excellence. Trademarks are considered the true identity of a company since these brands define the company’s products, determine their quality, and serve to maintain a continuous relationship between the customer and the product.
The brand becomes entrenched in the mind of the customer thanks to its quality, shape, the colours used in it and the beauty of its design, which all serve to increase its potential to promote and advertise the product. The more famous and widespread the brand, the more established it is.
UAE Trademark Law
The United Arab Emirates Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 defines a Trademark as anything that takes a distinctive form of names, words, signatures, letters, numbers, drawings, symbols, addresses, stamps, or seals, or pictures, inscriptions, advertisements, packages, or any other mark, which are used for the purpose of distinguishing goods, products, or services belonging to the owner of the mark, to indicate the performance of one of the services, and the voice is considered part of the trademark if it is associated with it.
Marks which are not entitled to registration
This law clarifies the definition of a trademark, and prescribes conditions that must be met upon registration, and in the event that they are not met, the mark cannot be registered as a trademark or an element thereof. Among these conditions are:
- If the mark is devoid of any characteristic or distinctive character;
- If the mark violates morals or public order;
- If the mark uses public slogans, flags and other symbols of a country, Arab or international organizations, one of its institutions, or any foreign country;
- The use of symbols such as a red crescent, the red cross, or any other similar symbols or signs;
- Signs or symbols of or similar to purely religious characters;
- Names and geographical indications, if their use would or could cause confusion regarding the origin or source of the goods, products or services;
- The name, title, picture, or emblem of a third person, unless such person or his/her heirs agree in advance to the use thereof;
- Details of honors or degrees to which the applicant is not proved to be legally entitled to;
- Marks that are misleading to the public, and include false information about the origin or source, or the characteristics of products or services;
- Marks that contain a fictitious, fraudulent or counterfeited trade name;
- Marks owned by natural or legal persons with whom dealing or trade is prohibited;
- A mark whose registration for some categories of products or services results in undermining the value of other products or services that distinguish the mark;
- A mark that includes the following words or phrases: (privilege) or (privileged) or (registered) or (registered drawing) or (copyright) or (counterfeiting is considered forgery);
- National and foreign decorations and coins or notes.
Article 4 of the Trademarks Law stipulates that it is not permissible to register a trademark with a world-fame brand except with the permission of its owner or his/her power of attorney, and it is furthermore not permissible to register well-known trademarks to distinguish goods or services unless they are similar or identical to those distinguished by these trademarks.
Who is entitled to register and cancel trademarks?
Trademarks are registered through the Trademarks Registry or you can take help from expert firms like Farahat & co. As for the persons entitled to register trademarks, they are:
- Citizens of the State who are natural or legal persons and who engage in commercial, industrial, craft, or service businesses;
- Foreigners who are natural or legal persons who practice industrial, craft, or service businesses within the country;
- Foreigners who are natural or legal persons who practice industrial, craft, or service businesses in any country that treats the State reciprocally.
- Public legal persons.
Whoever registers the trademark is considered to be the sole owner thereof, and ownership of the trademark may not be contested if the person who registered it uses it continuously for at least five years from the date of registration, without a lawsuit being filed against him/her for non-ownership thereof. The owner of the registered trademark further has the right to prevent others from using an identical or similar mark. Furthermore, the owner of a previously registered trademark may at any time submit a request to the Ministry to introduce any addition or amendment to the trademark itself or to the products or services distinguishing the trademark, provided that the amendment does not affect the identity thereof.
The term of trademark protection
The trademark protection period lasts ten years. The trademark owner further has the right to guarantee the continuation of protection for consecutive protection periods if he submits an application to renew the registration of the trademark during the last year of the current protection period, and no change may be made to it.
Trademark law penalties
Chapter Six, Penalties Article (37) prescribes punishment by imprisonment and a fine of not less than 5,000 dirhams for the commission of any of the following offences:
- Any person who forges a trademark that has been registered according to the law or imitates it in a way that is misleading to the public, and whoever knowingly uses a forged or a counterfeit trademark;
- Any person who affixes a registered trademark owned by another on a product;
- Any person who knowingly sells, or possesses with the intention of selling, products bearing a forged or a counterfeit trademark;
Furthermore, any person who knowingly offers to provide services under a forged or counterfeit trademark, or that uses a mark which is not registrable, shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding 1 year and a fine of not less than 5,000 dirhams and not more than 10,000 dirhams or either one of these penalties.