New federal laws were enacted in 1992 granting protection for patents, trademarks and copyrights. However, since UAE became a member of GATT, the established rules are being revised to comply with WTO (TRIPS) standards. The revised laws are expected to be implemented by January 2000. UAE has already signed the Paris Convention.Once an application for the grant of a patent is filed, it is examined with respect to compliance with formalities and patentability under the Patent Law including its novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability. In the case of refusal, the applicant has the right to appeal to the Committee in the Patent Office. Accepted applications are published in the Official Gazette, and any interested party has the right to appeal to the Committee within sixty days as of the date of publication in the Official Gazette. In the absence of opposition, the letters-patent or the utility certificate is issued.
A patent is valid for fifteen years and renewable for a period of no more than five years. Patents granted for process inventions relating to drugs and pharmaceuticals are granted for a non-renewable period of ten years.
The right to a patent may be assigned or licensed. An assignment shall have no effect against third parties unless it has been recorded at the Patent Office and published in the Official Gazette.
Working of patents in the UAE is an official requirement. If the owner of a patented invention does not satisfy the stipulated working requirements within four years from the filing date or three years from the grant date of the patent, if the working has ceased for two consecutive years, the use does not cover the demands of the UAE, or the owner refuses to license it under contract on fair terms, then the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing under the provisions of the law. The corresponding periods for a utility model is three years as of the filing date and two years as of the grant. Importation of products made under the patent does not satisfy the use requirement.
The examination procedure for designs and industrial models is same as that for patents. A design or industrial model registration is valid for five years and renewable for two additional consecutive five year periods. Annuities have to be paid within the final three months of the protection period, but late payment with a surcharge is possible within thirty days as of the elapse of the due date.
The international classification of goods and services is followed in the UAE. Once a trademark application is filed, the application is examined as to its “registerability”. Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in the Official Gazette. Also, publication upon acceptance is effected in two local, daily Arabic newspapers and the cuttings of the notices, as published in the newspapers, are to be submitted to the Trademark Office. Any interested party may file a notice of opposition to the registration of the trademark within thirty days from the date of last publication. The decision of the Registrar regarding the opposition may be appealed to the Committee in the Trademark Office, and the Committee's decision may be appealed to the competent court. In the absence of opposition, a trademark is registered and the relevant certificate of registration is issued.
A trademark registration is valid for ten years from the date of filing the application and renewable for similar periods.
The ownership of a registered trademark can be assigned with or without the commercial enterprise using the trademark. Unless an assignment has been recorded in the register and published in the Official Gazette, the assignment shall have no effect vis-a-vis third parties.
Any interested party may request the court to cancel a trademark registration if the owners fail to use such a trademark in the UAE for five consecutive years from the date of registration.
Copyright interests can be protected under the Copyright and Authorship Protection Law No. 40 for the year 1992.
Registration with the competent authority is optional, but a registration shall be regarded as the authoritative reference to the copyrighted information. Non-registration shall not entail infringing upon the author's right. A copyright registration is valid for the lifetime of the author plus twenty-five years after his death. The validity period for cinematographic films, works of applied art, works made by corporate bodies, works of art published under pen names, and works published for the first time after the authors death are protected for twenty-five years only. The validity period of photographic works is ten years only.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)