The Federal Authorities have announced The New Intellectual Property laws in the UAE encompassing over 40 regulations. This move is touted as one of the substantial legal reforms in the country.
This breakthrough change has come from none other than Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. These laws span multiple sectors like Industry Property Law, Copyrights Law, and New Trademark Law in UAE. The new law, I.e., Federal Law No. 11 of 2021, is related to the regulation and protection of Industrial property rights. The scope of this law is defined as follows:
- Industrial designs
- Integrated circuits
- Undisclosed information
- Certificates of unity
As per Article 3, these laws will apply to all Emirates in the UAE, including free zones. Including the free zones is crucial because the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) came out with its Intellectual Property law, DIFC Law no 4 of 2019. The DIFC law covers patents, utility certificates, industrial drawings, and designs. Moreover, it also administers and recognizes UAE patents within its authority.
Surprisingly, DIFC and the UAE law have different provisions for Intellectual Property Laws. Hence, certain patent matters within the DIFC’s authority may be subject to more strict regulations than the same transactions outside the jurisdiction.
Despite these differences, the new IP law has introduced some noteworthy changes. The authorities encountered the greatest challenge with patent and industrial design practices. Apparently, the reason for introducing these changes is because UAE wants its patents and design practices to be at par with global practices.
Salient Features of the Newly Introduced Intellectual Property Laws
1) 12 Months Grace Period:
Any disclosure coming from the inventor of the party that receives information from the inventor directly/indirectly will get a grace period. As per Article 4 of the Intellectual Property Laws, the inventor must be the origin of the disclosure. Additionally, the disclosure must come 12 months before the filing date.
Upon meeting these conditions, the disclosure will qualify for further examination. Likewise, a 12-month grace period will apply to industrial designs too. (Article 43).
2) Patent Exclusions: New Intellectual Property Law in UAE
Article 7 of the newly introduced Intellectual Property Law excludes inventions based on software and natural materials, even if they are purified and isolated from nature. The controversial nature of these software-based inventions has raised quite a few eyebrows. Apart from these, the other patent exclusions will not undergo any changes/modifications.
3) Interpretations of Patents and Claims:
The new Intellectual Property Law does not contain a summary of the invention to exclude the application’s interpretation. Under the provisions of the older Article 16, the speculations served to interpret the application.
However, the summary will only provide public information or the patent’s technical aspects with the new law.
4) Publications of Patent Applications: New Intellectual Property Law in UAE
Under Article 14, applicants have the right to request speedy information related to their patent applications. The date of applying does not matter in this case. Before implementing the new Intellectual Property Laws, applications had no option to request an expedited examination process.
5) Divisional Applications:
The new law’s Article 16 allows individuals to file and prosecute a divisional application. Although the older law had no provisions like these. What details do a divisional application include? A divisional application includes the filing date of the parent application. Additionally, the issuance of newer regulations will shed light on the process of applying for divisional applications.
6) Assigning Patents: New Intellectual Property Law in UAE
An aspect of the law that needs further amendments is the assignment of patent applications under Article 21. According to Article 21’s obligations, a notary public in the UAE must attest to the assignment document. Sometimes the notary public refuses to comply, which can create complications. In the absence of a patent certificate that clearly states and certifies the rights that must be assigned, the notary public will not attest to an assignment document for patent application. Submitting the assignment document is one of the mandatory steps in filing a patent application. Many people expect future regulations to address this issue.
7) Exemption for Compulsory Licenses:
Article 25 of the previous law has stated the conditions for granting a compulsory license in case of an emergency, crisis, disaster, critical community needs, or non-commercial purposes. The new law’s Article 28 has revised those conditions.
The earlier law imposed a condition that the invention had to make a remarkable contribution to the public.
8) Numerous Industry Licenses:
The previous law allowed individuals to register multiple designs if they had similar manufacturing builds or were put differently. Moreover, the limit for such designs was set at 20. The new Intellectual Property Laws have eliminated that clause.
9) Protection Period for Designs: New Intellectual Property Law in UAE
The protection period for designs is now 20 years. With the previous law, the protection period was for ten years only. Furthermore, the extended period starts from the date of applying.
10) Grievance & Opposition:
With the introduction of the new law, a committee must be formed to address the grievances filed by parties regarding ICSR’s decisions to issue patents, designs, or utility certificates. Article 74 also states that the committee must comprise a judge and two members with relevant experience in the Intellectual Property sector.
Moreover, one of the two members must be a member of the International Centre for Patent Registration under the Ministry of Economy. It is crucial to understand that inventors lodge the grievance/re-examination request after the relevant authorities grant a patent/design/utility. Please note that individuals/inventors must file the appeals within the stipulated time stated in the new law’s executive legislation.
NR Doshi & Partners Enables you to have a Modernized System of Intellectual Property
The primary objective of introducing these changes to the patent and design laws is to ensure that their laws align with global standards.
Furthermore, the UAE government wants to encourage innovation and realize its vision of creating a knowledge-based economy. The details mentioned in the Intellectual Property’s laws and regulations will compel people to apply these laws while creating, protecting, and enforcing intellectual properties.
At NR Doshi & Partners, we stay abreast of the latest happenings in the UAE market. Whether it’s a trademark, copyright, or patent service, our firm has the resources to help businesses from diverse sectors. Our intellectual property services include the following:
- Trademark registration
- Copyright registration
- Patent registration
- International trading registration
- Industrial design registration
- Logo and brand registration
- GCC trademark registration
- Professional translation
Our biggest strengths are our extensive knowledge and experience spanning over three decades, specializing in contentious and non-contentious intellectual property matters. Additionally, we advise clients on matters related to the legal, regulatory, and commercial aspects of intellectual properties.
We understand that each entity is different. First, we study how your business functions and the challenges it encounters. Depending on the client’s requirements and the current situation, we create a holistic strategy to protect their intellectual property rights.
Whether you are new in the UAE market, in the process of expansion, or entering into new commercial arrangements, our bespoke intellectual property services will structure your commercial arrangements in the initial stages of business.