Beginning on 28 December, 2021, UAE nationals, companies, or entities with a real and effective presence in the emirates will have the additional option of filing trademarks internationally using the Madrid Protocol. From that date forward, global rights holders who are entitled to use the Madrid Protocol can include the UAE as a designation, or an additional designation, with regards to international registrations.

The implementation of the Madrid Protocol is likely to see a growth in trademark filings, both in and from the UAE. Some of the finer points of the UAE's accession are yet to be released, but what we know is:

  • the UAE intends to charge an individual fee for UAE designations (but the amount has not yet been released); and
  • the UAE has accepted the 18-month extendable deadline in which to notify WIPO's International Bureau of provisional refusals of UAE designations.

IP professionals await guidance from UAE officials on a number of areas around the Madrid Protocol coming into force. However, what is clear is that this provides qualifying brand owners with an additional option of using it to protect trademark interests in, or from, the UAE.

This is a significant development, and one that comes about in the midst of numerous reforms the UAE government is making to its IP laws, as well as other laws in and around innovations and tech. Recently, a new federal patent law was issued, and a data protection law is expected imminently.

 As the UAE continues on its fast track towards a knowledge-based economy, we expect further amendments and new laws to come into effect in the months and years ahead. It is very much an area for rights holders to monitor with a watchful eye.

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