What is Intellectual Property, Exactly?
Intellectual property isn’t just important on an individual level; it’s important for businesses, too. In the business sphere, intellectual property (or IP) refers to any tangible expression of a concept, idea, or invention. Naturally, that includes things like brand names and logos. But IP also encompasses other unique features like product designs, innovations, and other assets you’ve developed, which serve to set you and your business apart.
This is the broadest category of . intellectual property protection. A copyright provides the owner with many legal rights and benefits that prevent any unauthorized use or exploitation of the copyrighted work in question. Some of the most common copyright applications are for written work, music, and artistic creations. It should also be noted that the original copyright owner does have the option to sell the copyright to a second party.
A trademark is an official designation used to identify a particular good or service provided by an individual or company. Registered trademarks are commonly obtained for trademark words, phrases, logos, designs, branding, and packaging, among other things.
3. Registered Designs
A registered design is another IP category that focuses on the specific visual appearance of a product or product component. In order to register a design, it must be recognized as new and unique. Registered designs have been applied to everything from fabric designs, to home goods, to commercial goods, agricultural applications, industrial machinery, and more.
In most circles, a patent is considered the gold standard of IP protection. Patents are highly valued by individuals and companies alike, as they help to ensure that innovators are given credit for the work they’ve produced. A patent is typically valid for 20 years or so, and it gives the patent owner full control over who can use their patented invention, product, or process. A patent can also be sold to another individual or organization, should the original patent owner ever decide to so choose.
Benefits of Pursuing IP Registration in the UAE
So, when does it make sense to pursue the services of an intellectual property consultant in Dubai and the UAE like MSZ Consultancy? Pretty much any time you have some intellectual property that’s worth protecting! Here are some specific benefits:
• Obtaining copyrights, trademarks, registered designs, and patents really can provide your business with some significant advantages. For example, establishing your own trademark or trademarks can allow you to create a stronger brand, as well as build a stronger company. And registering for a copyright ensures that the creator will continue to own his or her artistic creation, whether it be a writing sample, a graphic design, or a piece of artwork. In addition, obtaining a patent helps to foster more invention and innovation for your business. Protecting these sorts of intellectual properties is really paramount when it comes to building the value of your business.
• Companies should follow due diligence to protect their logos and trademarks, and especially any that serve to help identify and strengthen their brand. These logos and trademarks can ultimately be differentiating factors for your business, and help to contribute to its success.
• Registration of intellectual property is an effective way to prove ownership, especially if the time may come when you have to defend against any infringers who want to procure and steal the particulars of how you do business. For example, copyrights are generally protected for the duration of the author’s life, plus 25 years beyond that. In the case of a company copyright, the copyright remains in effect for 50 years after the date of publication.
Important Considerations for Intellectual Property Registration
If you’re making plans for a business setup in Dubai or a business registration in Dubai, then these are some things you should bear in mind as it pertains to intellectual property (IP) considerations:
• Clearance searches
Before you spend a lot of time and effort in seeking to register your business under a particular name, you need to first make sure the name you’re considering isn’t already in use. You’ll want to make a point to check for both registered trademark names and logos. Taking this proactive step will help you to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.
• Domain name availability
This is a related concern. Before you make a decision on pursuing a particular trademark, you need to make sure whether the domain name itself is available. You’ll want to land on a domain name that relates to both your business and your preferred trademark. To that end, it’s a good idea to go ahead and register for any available variants of your chosen domain name, as well.
• Brand and logo particulars
Exercising your rights to secure IP protection for your brand and logo design make good sense, too. Doing so will help to secure your intellectual property and help to defend it against any potential misuse. Also, bear in mind that trademarks are generally territorial and location-based, so you’ll want to make sure to get them registered in any territories (like Dubai) in which you plan to do business.
• Identify your other IP assets
Beyond trademarks, you may have some other intellectual properties worth protecting, as well. This could include things like design assets, or specific innovative equipment or processes which would merit being patented. One of the best ways to assess this for yourself is by conducting an intellectual property audit for your business venture.
• Maintain confidentiality
When it comes to seeking IP protection, it’s also important not to disclose any information about your ideas or inventions to second or third parties before your intellectual property registration is finalized. In fact, if a premature disclosure should be uncovered during the course of a patent application, your patent application could be rendered invalid.
• Avoid any existing IP rights infringement
If you’re interested in using any IP rights that you don’t currently own, you’ll also want to make every effort to seek the necessary permissions in advance. You may be able to license the rights, or you might just need to buy them from the IP holder outright. If you knowingly infringe upon the IP rights of others, that can quickly damage your business reputation. You may be subject to some hefty fines and penalties, as well.
How Intellectual Property Registration Works in Dubai
We’ve talked some about intellectual property registration, what it is, and why it’s important. But you didn’t land on this page just to gain some general knowledge about IP registration. If you’re planning a business setup in Dubai or a company formation in Dubai, you’re probably ready to get down to the nitty-gritty.
Copyrights in Dubai
➢ Copyrights and associated legal considerations are covered in Dubai by Federal Law No. 7 of 2002. Here are some of the items which fall underneath the copyright category:
⚬ Written materials like books and articles
⚬ Software and database systems
⚬ Works of music, which may or may not also include the lyrics
⚬ AV creatives
⚬ Speeches and oratory works
⚬ Theatrical performances
⚬ Architectural designs, engineering blueprints, and maps
⚬ Works of fine art and applied art
➢ Copyright validity and infringement
A copyright is considered valid throughout the life of the author, and will remain valid for another 50 years beyond the creator’s death. Any use of the copyrighted work without the express consent of the copyright owner is grounds for sanctioning. Copyright infringement can lead to financial penalties, and even imprisonment.
➢ Required copyright registration documents in Dubai
⚬ Duly completed and submitted copyright registration form
⚬ Sample of the original creation
⚬ Personal details about the copyright applicant
⚬ Passport copy of the copyright applicant
Trademarks in Dubai
➢ Trademarks and the legalities associated with them are covered in Dubai by Federal Law No. 37 of 2002. Some of the items which fall underneath the trademark category include:
⚬ Marks and watermarks
➢ Copyright validity and infringement
Once a trademark is registered in the UAE, it remains valid for 10 years. Once a trademark is set to expire, it can then be renewed by the trademark holder for another 10-year period. Trademark infringement can result in legal injunctions, seizure of goods or commodities, financial penalties, prohibition of business operations, and even imprisonment.
➢ The trademark registration process in Dubai, UAE
⚬ The applicant initiates the trademark registration process through the Ministry of Economy website.
⚬ Once the application is submitted along with all required documents, the Trademark Registry will begin its review.
⚬ If the application passes initial scrutiny, it will be published in the Trademark Journal, as well as in designated Arabic newspapers.
⚬ After publishing, a 30-day time period will be allowed for any objections to be filed.
⚬ If no objections are raised during the 30-day period, the trademark certificate will then be officially issued to the applicant.
Patents in Dubai
➢ Patents and all related legal considerations are covered in Dubai by Federal Law No. 17 of 2002 (amended by Federal Law No. 31 of 2006). Patents apply specifically to inventions and innovations. The invention in question must be in end-product form, should include a scientific description, and must be non-obvious in nature. The UAE also requires that the invention should demonstrate the potential for industrial application.
➢ Patent validity and infringement
A registered patent is valid in the UAE for a period of 20 years after the date of filing, and an annual fee must be paid to maintain the patent registration. Patent infringements are punishable by law, and can result in any number of legal injunctions and penalties, all the way up to imprisonment.
➢ Required patent registration documents in Dubai
⚬ Submission of the patent application in both English and Arabic
⚬ Have the inventor’s deed of assignment attested at the UAE embassy
⚬ Specific details (in both English and Arabic) regarding the invention, including title, drawings, specs, etc.
⚬ A copy of the Articles of Association for your business, or a commercial register extract for corporate organizations
⚬ Priority documentation, if necessary
The Cost of Intellectual Property Registration in Dubai
What does it cost to pursue intellectual property registration in Dubai? Honestly, less than you may think! In an effort to make IP registration a more business-friendly process, the UAE Ministry of Economy reduced most search, application, registration, and renewal fees in 2019, and then reduced fees across the board even further in 2020.
In fact, the UAE Cabinet has reduced official fees for some 104 different services provided by the UAE Ministry of Economy! This should come as no great surprise to those who are familiar with the UAE, as it has made proactive strides towards becoming the premier financial center in the Middle East for years. In fact, Dubai is widely considered as one of the most foreign investor-friendly business locations on the entire globe!
How MSZ Consultancy Can Help!
We’ve sought to provide you with some helpful information about intellectual property registration in the UAE, but we know you probably still have some questions. We can help get you the IP answers you need, and MSZ Consultancy helps you and your business in many other ways, too. Got questions about business registration cost in Dubai, or about what it takes to get a business setup in the UAE to begin with? We’ve got you.
• What we do
At MSZ Consultancy, we can help you start your company from scratch, and we can also provide guidance to help you be more successful as a foreign business investor and entrepreneur. We walk you through the whole process of getting your company properly registered and licensed for business in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE, and we’re all about helping you to launch with greater success.
• How we can help
MSZ Consultancy is comprised of a capable team of business setup consultants, lawyers, PRO executives, and PRO service providers. We’ll get your business registered and licensed, but we don’t stop there. Our expert staff can help with everything from necessary paperwork, to legal advice, to financial counseling, and more. And if we don’t have the answer, we can get it for you!
• Why choose us?
We’re the best business setup consultants in Dubai, period. We love what we do, and we truly care about every individual client and every business organization with whom we partner. We’ll take the time to listen to your business dreams and goals, and then we’ll work hard to help you get where you want to be. Like we said, we’re here to help! Nobody offers better customer service than MSZ Consultancy, either!
There’s no need to wait any longer. Let’s get started today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can I register my digital domain as a trademark?
Not only can you, but you really should. A registered trademark doesn’t just give you the right to use your brand in the “real” world, but online as well. Should a domain name conflict ever arise, you’ll be in a much better position to defend your brand with a registered trademark.
- What documents are required when filing a patent application in Dubai?
There are a few essential documents you’ll want to have on hand, including an authorized power of attorney, an authorized deed of assignment, a duly authorized extract from the certificate of incorporation, and a certified copy of the priority document.
- Is an Arabic translation necessary for filing an IP registration in Dubai?
Yes, it is. In fact, UAE patent law mandates that all intellectual property registration applications be filed in both English and Arabic. This rule also extends to apply to many required pieces of supporting documentation for application processing, as well.
- What is a certificate of incorporation?
A certificate of incorporation is an official document which attests to the legal existence of a company, as issued by the relevant government authority in the applicant’s home country. An extract from the commercial register may also be permissible for use in an IP registration application. Depending upon the nature of your organization, it is also possible to submit the articles of association for an educational or government entity.
- Does IP registration in Dubai also provide protection in other Gulf nations?
Any intellectual property registration filed in Dubai will also be recognized reciprocally in all seven Emirates of the UAE. In other words, if you file for IP registration in one Emirate, it will also count in the other six as well. Specifically, this policy applies in Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras-Al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm-Al-Quwain.