With Dubai free zones becoming more and more popular, it’s no wonder why the total number of companies operating in the UAE grew by over 60,000 at the beginning of 2021.
The UAE is a country that has been welcoming entrepreneurs and investors from around the world for years with attractive incentives and a great financial climate.
This trend continues today, as more people than ever before move to the UAE in search of opportunity. However, with more opportunity comes more competition. And competitors are now trying their best to jump on a brand name or logo first!
That’s where trademark registration comes into play.
Trademarks are a company’s most valuable asset. They provide them with protection, legal recognition of their ownership, and the ability to distinguish themselves from other companies in competition for customers or catalogues alike.
If you’re interested in that kind of protection and prestige, here’s how to register a trademark in the UAE.
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that is used to identify the source of goods or services. This can be helpful for businesses so that their products or services can be easily identified by consumers.
What is technically protected by a trademark? It varies depending on the legal structure of where you register it. However, the following types of marks can usually be registered in the UAE:
- Words (including personal names)
- Letters, numbers, and other characters
- Designs, including symbols, logos, emblems, badges, and devices
- Colour (alone or in combination with other elements)
- Sound recordings
- Motion pictures and other audiovisual formats
What’s not protected with a business trademark or business copyright? Words that just describe your goods or services can’t be protected. This means that if you have a food truck, you can’t legally trademark the term “food truck.”
When it comes down to it, the benefits of registering your trademark in the UAE are many, such as ensuring that other companies cannot copy or imitate what you do. This is crucial if you’re going to build a big brand with certain identifiers that set it apart from the rest.
Just imagine if Emirates hadn’t registered a business trademark and another smaller airline came along and started imitating what they did. It would have been confusing for consumers, and the original Emirates would have cheapened its name and services.
Who Can Register a Trademark in the UAE?
The law you’re looking to understand is Federal Law No. 37 of 1992. This is the law that grants trademark protections in the UAE.
More specifically, in the UAE (because it can be different in other parts of the world!), trademark law covers any sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.
But, who can register a trademark in the UAE? The following persons can file for trademark registration in the UAE:
- Any natural person who is a citizen of the UAE or any other Arab country, or who “resides” there (note that this can get a little tricky)
- Any legal person “duly established” under the laws of the UAE or any other Arab country
- Any foreign national or company that applies for a registered patent and trademark attorney in the UAE
This is somewhat confusing, right? Most business matters in the UAE are. This is why we suggest working with a business setup specialist when registering a business in the UAE or engaging in any of the other tasks required to do so.
Visas, trade licenses, etc. all seem straightforward, but the registration process is a lot easier if you have the help of a specialist who has been through the process before.
What Kinds of Trademarks Can You Register in the UAE?
Finally, before diving into the process of trademarks and copyright registration in the UAE, it’s important to know what kind of trademarks you’re allowed to register.
You can register a trademark in the UAE if it meets the following requirements:
- It must be distinctive and capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of others in the market
- It should not be similar to an existing trademark that is registered in the UAE
- It should not be offensive or contrary to public morality
- It should not be misleading or deceptive
And, it’s important to know that there are three main types of trademarks that a business can register for in the UAE:
- Service marks
- Certification marks
- Collective membership marks
Service marks are used to identify the services of a company, certification marks are used to certify the quality of goods or services, and collective membership marks are used to identify the members of a particular organisation.
The Trademark Registration Process in the UAE
Now, are you ready to start the trademark registration process?
Registering a trademark in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a simple process. To register a trademark, you have to file a trademark application with the Ministry of Economy.
Check if the Trademark Exists
The first thing you need to do is check if the trademark exists or not. You can do this by searching the database of the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.
If you find that the trademark is already taken, you will have to choose a different one. If not, you can proceed with the registration process.
Additionally, it’s important to note that if you’re working with a business specialist in the UAE, they’ll likely take care of all of this for you. Keep this in mind when going through the rest of the trademark registration steps.
If things start to feel confusing, just know that a Company Formation Specialist can help you make sense of things.
Fill Out the Trademark Application with the Ministry of Economy
To register a trademark, you’ll need to fill out a trademark application with the Ministry of Economy. To do so this, go to the website linked above and select ‘Services’ on the homepage.
Then, click ‘E-Services’ from the dropdown menu. Next, go to ‘Trademark Registration’ where you will find an application form ready for completion.
This is where you can upload all of the other required documents as well!
The application must include the following information:
- Trademark logo
- Copy of trade license
- Power of attorney
- Passport copy
- Priority document
- Listing any goods or services you want to be protected under this trademark
(NOTE: Other possible requirements may arise on a case-by-case basis.)
Pay the UAE Trademark Registration Fees
After uploading your application, you’ll have to pay the application fee. Currently, that fee is AED 8,700. However, fees can change, so be sure to check the amount right before you apply.
This fee is for the registration of one trademark in one class. If you’re interested in registering more than one trademark or want to register your trademark in multiple classes then you’ll have to pay additional fees.
Wait for the Ministry of Economy to Evaluate Your Application
The Ministry of Economy will review your application for trademark registration in the UAE. While it’s rare, some minor errors or misspelt information can lead to rejection.
However, don’t worry if that happens. In the case of a denial, you have two options: appeal or modify what’s been submitted so far!
Usually, everything goes according to plan and the application goes through without any problems. In that case, the Ministry of Economy should approve it within 30 days.
Publish in Two Arabic-language Newspapers
Yay, you’re approved! However, we can’t celebrate just yet as there are a couple more steps left.
Once your trademark registration is approved, you’ll be required to publish the trademark in two local Arabic-language newspapers. This, unfortunately, is an additional cost that you have to cover.
There’s a chance that your trademark could be rejected if someone in the public objects within 30 days of publication.
If they do, the Ministry of Economy will review their objection and either confirm or deny whether it should continue being used in accordance with local laws.
Assuming nobody rejects the trademark registration, you’re now ready to proceed to the final step!
It’s time to get your official registration certification. This will include your:
- Registration number
- Date of the application
- Name of the business
- Owner’s name
- The trademark
- A description of your product, goods and services
Now, you’re officially ready to do business with the peace of mind of knowing that you’re protected.
Get Help From a Business Setup Specialist in the UAE
If you’re thinking about setting up a business in the UAE, it’s helpful to hire a business setup specialist who understands the ins and outs of local laws.
These experts can guide you through the process of not only trademark registration but also incorporating your business, obtaining the necessary licenses, and opening a bank account.
At Virtuzone, we can help you do all of that and more.
Book a free consultation with one of our Company Formation Specialists now and find out all the information you need about starting your own company in the UAE.