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2021 in Review: The Legal & Regulatory Changes Impacting Intellectual Property in the UAE


In 2021, there were changes of laws and a new set of regulations enacted in the UAE. We also saw major developments in Government practice and procedures. For instance, the UAE trademark office started to apply a new set of procedures, entered into the Madrid Protocol and also made some major developments in regard to the communications and examination time frame. This has resulted in some implications for intellectual property and brand protection, from both a technical and marketing perspective. The development opened many topics to be covered in media, write ups, articles and other medium of marketing. We take a look below at some of the key changes from 2021.

The new Intellectual Properties laws and regulations published in 2021

In summary, the new federal IP laws published in 2021 are:

  1. Decree Law number 11 of 2021 in relation to the protection of Industrial Property rights.
  2. Decree Law number 36 of 2021 in relation to the protection of Trademarks.
  3. Decree Law number 38 of 2021 in relation to the protection of Copyrights.

Other laws published in 2021 that are potentially relevant to IP in the UAE include:

  1. Decree Law number 34 of 2021 in relation to the Electronic Crimes.
  2. Decree Law number 46 of 2021 in relation to the Electronic Transactions and Trust services.
  3. Decree Law number 37 of 2021 in relation to the Commercial Registrar.
  4. Decree Law No. 45 of 2021 regarding the Protection of Personal Data
  5. Decree Law number 31 of 2021 in relation to Penalties and Crimes.

What do these laws & regulations change?

These new laws and regulations showcase the continuing progress of the development of the robust intellectual property framework in the UAE, by:

  • Creating further recognition of digital rights;
  • Enhancement of the existing procedures; and
  • The streamlining of laws and processes to meet the international best standards.

The key implications for business owners in the UAE

Business owners should consider undertaking an assessment of their brand portfolios, policies, and procedures to ensure they remain compliant with the latest rules and regulations. They may need to work with their trusted IP counsels to identify and implement any corrective measures to their on-going IP strategic plans.  IP audit, IP due diligence, IP clearances and advice services should continue to grow and be on demand for companies that understand the value of their IP rights. 

Our expectations for 2022

2022 will be a good year for Intellectual Property. The laws mentioned above will be implemented in practice, further laws and regulations will be published in the UAE and we expect to see similar approaches in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, as well as other jurisdictions across the region.

The demand for stringent IP policies and procedures will continue to grow as businesses seek to protect their brands and business both locally and regionally. In the Middle East, we expect there to be a continued focus on innovation and R&D. Sectors such as technology, logistics and international trade, diverse industrials, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, media and entertainment, will continue to diversify, establishing a need to stay ahead of the evolving rules and regulations and their implementation consequences. Partnering with a trusted IP advisor should be business critical to ensure you remain afresh of all developments and how they may impact your business.

About Intellectual Property at BSA

Our Intellectual Property practice is highly regarded for its strong advisory, commercial and contentious capabilities. We advise clients on their copyright, trademark, patent and design matters, covering the healthcare, pharmaceuticals, media, retail, consumer goods, technology and automotive sectors.

We are a full-service, leading IP team, dedicated to providing a highly personable and client focused service that has earnt the trust of many loyal clients, including private client and high net worth individuals. We can help you to register your intellectual property so it is legally safeguarded from your competitors. We also know that disputes are a fact of life and we will rigorously defend your interests both in local Courts, where we have rights of audience and international courts, where we are experienced in multi-jurisdictional litigation.

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