United Arab Emirates: IP Regional Update – November 2015

Last Updated: 26 November 2015
Article by Clyde & Co LLP

Market updates and insights from around the region. This month we report on news from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia & the UAE.


Significant increase in official fees for trade marks, patents and designs in Kuwait

The Kuwait Patent Office and Trade Mark Office have announced that there will be a significant increase in official fees.  This fee increase is likely to come into effect from 21 December 2015.

The new fees will apply to all new filings as well as to applications which have already been filed with regard to fees which have not yet been paid.

At present, it appears that the official fees for trade mark applications will increase as follows:

  • Filing fee – to increase from US 25 to USD 264
  • Publication and registration fees – to increase from USD 95 to USD 1,586

Please speak with your contact at Clyde & Co for a full updated schedule of charges for Kuwait.


ICANN Middle East draft study released

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has published an initial draft study on the Domain Name System (DNS) for the Middle East.

The study, commissioned in June 2015, is specific to the Middle East region and it aims to investigate the current state of the Internet and the domain name industry in the region, and to define best practices that have an impact on domain name growth and the business potential for the domain name market in the region.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia deadlines to no longer roll over to next business day

According to our Riyadh office, Trade Mark and Patent Office deadlines in Saudi Arabia which fall on public holidays will no longer roll over to the next working day.

This is contrary to the previous practice where deadlines which fell on public holidays rolled over until the next working day. This change in practice is thought to be due to the fact that the online systems for trade mark and patents continue to function during public holiday periods. Therefore, any deadlines which fall during this time must still be adhered to.

Clyde & Co comment (Jon Parker, Head of Trade Marks):

This is a significant and important departure from the former practice in Saudi Arabia and also from what rights holders are used to in most countries around the world.

Extreme care will need to be taken by rights holders and advisors to ensure deadlines are met in the Kingdom. It is also a timely reminder that the working week through most of the Middle East differs to the rest of the world and so reinforces the importance to rights holders, particularly those outside of the region, of carefully managing deadlines as far ahead as possible to avoid any unwanted surprises.


Clyde & Co gives a series of IP talks to design community supported by DDFC

Clyde & Co has been working with the Dubai Design and Fashion Council to deliver a series of IP workshops to the design community in the emirate of Dubai.  Harriet Balloch and Saba Al Sultani gave the first workshop focusing on the fashion and jewellery sectors, which included a panel discussion and interactive Q&As.

The series of five IP workshops provided designers with an overview of intellectual property rights in the context of the products that they design, develop and commercialise.  Additional workshops have focused on product design, architecture and interior design, graphic design and art and photography.

Clyde & Co comment (Harriet Balloch, Legal Director):

We were delighted to support the Dubai Design and Fashion Council with this great initiative and to provide practical and informative sessions to SMEs operating across the design community in Dubai.


CID seizure of AED 400,000 worth of counterfeit goods

Emirates 24/7 has reported that Dubai Police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) seized counterfeit goods worth AED 400,000 (USD 110,000), including counterfeit products faking well-known global brands including Nike, Burberry, Adidas and Louis Vuitton.


Closure of social media accounts by Dubai authorities

Enforcement authorities in Dubai have reportedly closed over 200 social network accounts in 2015 on the basis that the sites have been selling and promoting fake products according to Emirates 24/7.

The Dubai Economy Department (DED) is reported to have said that such activities are illegal and urged social media account holders not to engage in such practices to avoid the risks of prosecution.


Abu Dhabi police seizure of AED 6 million worth of counterfeit goods

7 Days has reported that a haul of 30,000 fake designer goods valued at AED 6 million (USD 1.6 million) has been recovered in a raid on three residential apartments in Abu Dhabi, including handbags, watches, purses, wallets and sunglasses.


Arab Publishers' Conference discusses anti-piracy techniques

The Gulf Today reported that participants at the 3rd Arab Publishers' Conference in Sharjah agreed there was a need to establish a specialised organisation for the management, licensing, and protection of mass copyright in the UAE.

Clyde & Co comment (Harriet Balloch, Legal Director):

Music publishers are keen for a collecting society to be established in the UAE, as this would enable businesses to obtain a licence from a single point of contact, in line with the position in many other countries.


Online trade mark filing and renewal services to commence 6 December

The UAE Trade Marks Department has announced that it will launch limited online filing services from 6 December for the following actions:

  • Filing trade mark applications; and
  • Filing trade mark renewal applications

At launch, it will be a hybrid system with the applications filed online with the supporting documents, but with a requirement for a physical copy of the application and supporting documents to be sent to the Ministry's Head Office for the Trade Marks Department in Abu Dhabi. The officials will only allocate a filing date to the application once the fees are paid.

The online services are expected to be extended in future rollouts of the system.

The officials will no longer accept physical filings from 6 Decemeber.

Unlike the position in Iran and Saudi Arabia when they launched online filing systems, the UAE officials will not be changing its classification practice. It will still be possible for applicants to use free-drafted specifications that are in accordance with Nice, it will not be limited to specific terms in the Nice Classification.


UAE Innovation Week 2015 commences

UAE Innovation Week is taking place from 22-28 November. The week includes 900 activities and initiatives across the country, developed by chief innovation officers in government bodies.

Gulf News reported that His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the event and viewed a number of innovative projects including a 'Smart Litigation' project which allows two parties in litigation to be judged through e-live trial, saving time for the justice system.         

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