Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Dubai protects city emblem as IP laws evolve

The Dubai Investment Fund will replace the Dubai government as owner of shares in companies IMAGO/Jürgen Schwenkenbecher via Reuters
The Dubai Investment Fund will replace the Dubai government as owner of shares in companies
  • 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. 

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. 

The official emblem, now the exclusive property of the emirate of DubaiDubai Media Office
The 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.

Latest articles

More than 24 million people visited the World Expo event at Expo City Dubai between October 2021 and March 2022

Construction begins at Expo City Dubai site

Construction has begun on the first residential properties at Expo City Dubai, part of a mixed-use master plan to repurpose the legacy site after the world fair came to a close two years ago. Master developer Expo City Dubai announced last week that it has awarded four key contracts for its Mangrove Residences. UAE-based USF […]

Saudi housing costs rose nearly 9% year on year in May

Saudi housing costs rise but inflation remains steady

Housing costs in Saudi Arabia rose nearly 9 percent year on year in May, but it was not enough to push overall inflation in the kingdom over 2 percent. The latest data from the General Authority for Statistics showed the annual inflation rate in Saudi Arabia was 1.6 percent in May, having remained at this […]

OTB Group has a presence in Dubai with its Maison Margiela store in the Dubai Mall

Chalhoub Group in venture with Italian luxury brand

Luxury distributor Chalhoub Group has entered into a joint venture with Italian fashion conglomerate OTB Group to expand the brand’s footprint in the Gulf. OTB (which stands for Only The Brave) owns the Diesel, Jil Sander, Maison Margiela, Marni and Viktor&Rolf brands, the Staff International and Brave Kid companies, and holds a stake in the […]

Arid conditions brought about by the drought in Morocco are affecting the cost of sheep

Drought pushes up sheep price for Eid in Morocco

The price for a sheep in Morocco for the annual sacrifice at Eid al-Adha has increased on average at 10 times the 2.2 percent rate of inflation. A medium-sized female sheep costs MAD4000 ($400) as opposed to MAD3000 last year. This puts it out of range for many families in the country where a high […]