Analysis Entrepreneurs Dubai protects city emblem as IP laws evolve By Andy Sambidge October 18, 2023 IMAGO/Jürgen Schwenkenbecher via Reuters Flags in Dubai show the face of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktum. Intellectual property laws regarding ownership of everything from images to music to inventions are being tightened 50 new trademarks every day Strong laws ‘essential’ for economy UAE observes best practices A new law has been established to protect the official emblem of Dubai as part of evolving legislation aimed at improving intellectual property (IP) rights in the UAE. Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also vice president and prime minister of the UAE, has issued Law No. 17 of 2023, which stipulates that the emblem is considered the property of the emirate. UAE businesses and families splurge on video surveillance Dubai regulator halts unapproved crypto sale Why do we click? The psychology behind phishing attacks Private entities may only use it by obtaining prior approval. Improper use may lead to penalties and punishment, including imprisonment of up to five years and a fine ranging from AED100,000 ($27,000) to AED500,000. Stronger protection The UAE is strengthening its IP protections. IP refers to any intellectual creation, such as literary, artistic and musical works, inventions, designs, symbols, names, images and computer code. Laws exist to protect the creators and cover areas of copyright, trademark law and patents. An average of nearly 50 new trademarks were registered each day in the UAE over the first eight months of 2023. Tracie Scott, assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, told AGBI IP has “profound implications” for every nation’s ambition for economic growth and innovation. “Strong IP laws are essential. The UAE has made significant strides in harmonising its IP regulations with international standards,” she said. “The law restricting the improper use of Dubai’s emblem signals the country’s desire to protect the owner of intellectual property… we can anticipate further refinements and expansions of its IP laws.” Regulations relating to IP have strengthened across the GCC over the past decade since a Spanish architect filed a lawsuit in 2012 alleging that Qatar had forged nearly 1,000 street lamps she designed for a 10km stretch of road in Doha. The Emirati Musicians’ Association (Ema) is behind the latest undertaking in the UAE to protect the rights of creators. It signed an agreement last week with Esmaa, the Gulf-based music rights organisation, to ensure that the rights of all music creators are safeguarded. “Our unified efforts will undoubtedly lead to a more inclusive and protective environment for all artists, allowing them to focus on their craft, knowing their rights are defended,” said Emirati composer Ihab Darwish, Ema’s founder and president. Dubai Media OfficeThe official emblem, now the exclusive property of the emirate of Dubai Felicity Hammond, associate at law firm BSA in Dubai, said the establishment of the Dubai emblem follows the extensive IP framework enhancements in the UAE over the course of the past two years. “In keeping with the UAE’s ambitions for economic growth, the UAE has modernised its IP infrastructure with the view to create a more attractive environment which in turn will stimulate development and foreign investment,” she said. She added that the UAE’s accession to the Madrid System – a global platform for registering and protecting trademarks – has “signalled its intention” to observe international best practices. Fighting economic crime The Federal Judicial Council in July approved the UAE Attorney General’s proposal to establish federal prosecution entities specialised in economic crimes including IP and trademark violations. In a statement, the council said the change would enhance the confidence of international investors in the UAE’s business environment and encourage them to bring their businesses to the emirates. The Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi also launched the Intellectual Property Excellence Centre in July to enhance the emirate’s global competitiveness. “Supporting inventors with a comprehensive ecosystem to grow and convert their bright ideas into commercial products and services is essential to our progress journey,” said Rashed Abdulkarim Al Blooshi, undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. “We believe this IP excellence centre will play a critical role in strengthening Abu Dhabi’s status as a preferred destination for talent, businesses and investments,” he added. Nearly 12,000 new trademarks have been registered in the UAE during the first eight months of 2023. Under amendments to the trademark law, trade licences are no longer needed by people wishing to register a trademark, paving the way for more innovators to apply for protection. The Ministry of Economy has also received more than 4,000 requests seeking global IP protection under the Madrid System.