United Arab Emirates: Prioritising IP

Taking a deeper look into Dubai's online portal for anti-counterfeiting administrative actions, and Abu Dhabi's trade mark recordals

 

DUBAI: ONLINE PORTAL FOR ANTI-COUNTERFEITING ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS

The Dubai Department for Economic Development (DDED) launched a new online portal under the name of Intellectual Property Protection e-Service Application. The system will officially be put in practice on 1 September 2016.

The online portal allows the trade mark owners to record trade marks, file complaints, download reports, search for company names, pay official fees, track all the stages of the anti-counterfeiting actions and receive notifications from the DDED. 

Legal representatives of the trade mark owners will need to upload valid Powers of Attorney onto the system. The system allows for multiple representatives of the same trade mark owner with some limitations to be addressed on case to case basis.

The online portal will facilitate all administrative anti-counterfeiting actions in the Emirate of Dubai and will expedite the respective procedure. This is a positive development in the IP protection practice in Dubai, and an incentive for further developments across other departments in Dubai or in other Emirates. 

 

ABU DHABI: TRADE MARK RECORDALS 

On 21 August 2016, Abu Dhabi Customs has put the trade mark chapter of the Administrative Decision Number 39 of 2013 in force. The Decision generally regulates border control measures in relation to IP protection.  In particular, the Decision discussed the protection of trade marks and copyrights. When issued in 2013, the Decision was put on hold. However, the recent announcement made by Abu Dhabi Customs only mentions the enforceability of the trade mark related procedures, which implies that the Copyright related procedures are still on hold.

The Decision allows for the recordal of trade marks with Abu Dhabi Customs, which makes Abu Dhabi the fifth Emirate to adopt such system after Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, leaving Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain as the only Emirates without a Customs recordal system. The Decision also regulates the filing and management of complaints against consignments with products infringing recorded marks (Customs complaints).

In terms of the recordal procedures, the new system in Abu Dhabi is very similar to the corresponding systems previously adopted by other Emirates. However, the procedures for the Customs complaints are very different. The main difference is that the decision refers all complaints to the courts and does not allow for comprehensive administrative procedures. Customs authorities will seize suspected infringing products on temporarily basis only. The brand-owner has 8 working days to file a main claim before the competent court to look into the substance of the case. This new procedure is in line with the new Unified GCC Trade Mark Law, which has not yet come into force in the UAE.  There is some uncertainty whether this procedure will be put in force on the basis of the Decision, or it will await the enforceability of the GCC Trade Mark Law.