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How to register a trademark in the UAE?

Table of Contents
Introduction

Starting or moving a business to the United Arab Emirates necessitates securing not just licenses for particular operations but also patents or intellectual property safeguards. Consequently, entrepreneurs must thoroughly research the process of trademark registration in the UAE to sidestep potential challenges with governmental bodies.

Requirements for establishing a business in the UAE

Setting up a business in the United Arab Emirates can occur either on the mainland or through a streamlined process within a free economic trade zone. The latter offers tax and customs advantages, along with the potential for complete foreign ownership and management. Irrespective of the chosen jurisdiction for business activities in the UAE, obtaining the relevant license for a one-year term and opening a local bank account are mandatory. Applications can be submitted either online or in person to the appropriate government authority.

Concurrently, trademark registration is mandatory to ensure the legal validity of the company’s endeavors in the UAE and to prevent data breaches and unauthorized utilization of materials or developments. This holds particular significance for innovative and educational business sectors, safeguarding against the unauthorized exploitation of intellectual property.

Given that many entrepreneurs establish operations in the UAE to attract foreign investments and access the global market, they often opt for registering an international trademark under the Madrid system. This provides protection for business rights in 130 countries simultaneously and allows for the payment of unified registration fees. However, it’s noteworthy that registering a trademark with the national bureau at the Ministry of Economy of the UAE is essential for conducting operations within the country.

Trademark Registration Process and Timelines

The process of trademark legalization in the United Arab Emirates unfolds across several stages, spanning approximately a year. However, official sources outline registration timelines ranging from six months to two years. This process is open to both individuals and legal entities, with the only distinction lying in the requisite documents. Notably, the applicant’s status does not impact the duration of legalization.

Initially, applicants can submit their application to the patent office either online or in hard copy, although a physical presence is necessary to provide a complete set of documents. This requirement stems from the necessity for individuals or legal entities to append a visual representation of the trademark in print.

Following the initial review by the patent office and in the absence of any conflicting trademarks, the government agency publishes details regarding the intent to register the trademark in two local periodicals. Any challenges to the application must be lodged within 30 days of publication. Should there be no objections from the public, the applicant proceeds to pay the requisite fees and obtain the pertinent documents. However, if objections arise and the patent office rejects the application, the applicant retains the right to appeal the decision. Such an appeal must be lodged within 30 days of receiving the rejection, with the timeline for appeal consideration typically determined on a case-by-case basis.

When submitting an application, it’s crucial to factor in national idiosyncrasies. For instance, in the UAE, trademark registration for entities involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages, pork, etc., is not permissible.

Documentation Requirements and Fee Structure
The standard document set for submission to the patent office comprises the original and a duplicate of the applicant’s identification documents, alongside a power of attorney if the applicant is representing an organization or another individual’s interests. If the trademark registration is being pursued by a legal entity, additional documents such as founding papers and a license validating the right to conduct activities in the United Arab Emirates must also be furnished.
 
Moreover, the document set must encompass a high-quality image of the trademark logo in either PDF or JPG format. In instances where the trademark has been previously registered under the Madrid Agreement or in a non-Madrid Agreement country, a certificate of registration from the foreign jurisdiction is requisite. Furthermore, a detailed list of goods or services is essential for classification purposes.
 
Fees payable to the patent office are settled in the local currency across two stages: upon submission of the application and upon confirmation of trademark registration. Given that the national patent office exclusively accepts documents in Arabic, applicants typically incur expenses for the translation of necessary documentation, including notarization in most cases.
Trademark Registration Process in the UAE

Trademark Search: Begin by conducting a thorough search to ensure your desired trademark is available and doesn’t conflict with existing ones.

Gather Documents: Collect all necessary paperwork, including identification documents, power of attorney (if applicable), and any relevant licenses or certificates.

Application Submission: File your trademark registration application either online or in person, ensuring all required documents are included.

Review by Patent Office: The patent office will examine your application to verify compliance with laws and uniqueness of the trademark.

Publication and Objections: If no conflicts arise, your trademark will be published in local periodicals. Others have 30 days to raise objections.

Fees and Finalization: Pay the required fees and, upon approval, receive your trademark registration certificate.

Protection: Your trademark is now legally protected in the UAE, safeguarding your brand identity and preventing unauthorized use.

Conclusion

In conclusion, navigating the trademark registration process in the UAE requires careful attention to detail and adherence to legal requirements. By conducting thorough research, preparing the necessary documents, and following the steps outlined by the patent office, businesses can secure valuable protection for their brands. With a registered trademark, companies can confidently establish their presence in the UAE market, safeguard their intellectual property rights, and build trust with customers.

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