Since the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a business hub. There is plenty of guidance regarding how to set up your business in the UAE, deciding the legal structure of your company, applying for a relevant trade license and business permits. However, one element which has often been overlooked is how to protect your trademark.
Having a trademark is one of the distinctive indicators which enables consumers to not only distinguish between their products and services but also protects them from being copied and sold by a different name by someone else.
This article will be a complete guide regarding a trademark, its importance, and how a trademark can ultimately benefit your business in the long term.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is essentially a name, symbol, design, logo, or phrase which is used by the manufacturer or the merchant which distinguishes them from other brands, businesses, or other marketers. In addition to the aforementioned things, the trademark can also include figures, signatures, marks, or even sounds.
The word trademark can be referred to as trademarks and service mark both. In short, a trademark;
- Identifies the source of your goods or services
- Provides legal protection for your brands
- Helps you guard against counterfeiting and fraud
There are a number of misconceptions when it comes to trademarks; the trademark does not mean that you legally own the particular phrase can prevent others from using it. You do not own the words or the phrase, it simply means that others cannot use the same phrase with your specific goods or the services you are providing.
The trademark does not necessarily describe the goods or services either; that is another huge misconception that is common amongst people.
Trademarks in the UAE
The culture of trademarks is not currently mandatory for businesses in the UAE. However, the benefits of registering a trademark generally trump not doing so.
The trademarks in the UAE are registered with the UAE Ministry of Economy. Once the trademark is approved from there, your brand/business will be protected in all seven emirates; Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain.
The drawback to being considered with this is that the trademark certificate from the UAE does not protect your business outside the country.
Trademark Restrictions in UAE
While you can register your trademark which will be open to the public, there are also some rules and regulations when it comes to it.
If you are to register a trademark in the UAE then it must not contain the following:
- Offense against the public or any religion
- Public symbols i.e. flags etc
- Symbols such as Red Cross or Red Crescent
- Name or titles of third parties
- Direct translation of other famous trademarks
Since the rules and regulations are changing with each passing day, you should visit official sources prior to registering the trademark.
Trademark and Its Importance
Trademark holds a lot of value and its importance can be summed up for a multitude of reasons:
- Distinguish your products or services
- The trademark distinguishes your product or service from other businesses
- Protects your business
- You get protection from other people using your phrase, slogan, or any trademark-like property
- Use it as a marketing tool
- Trademarks can often prove to be a useful marketing tool to break into a new market, particularly for branch organizations.
- Additional revenue
- By selling a registered trademark, you can earn a significant amount of money
- Increases business value
- Trademarks are intangible assets that can improve the value of a business
Who Can Register a Trademark in UAE?
According to the UAE Federal Law, the following people are eligible to register a trademark in the UAE;
- The UAE citizens and natural and artificial persons practicing any commercial, industrial, professional, or service business
- Foreigners and natural and artificial persons practicing any commercial, industrial, professional, or service business
- Foreigners and natural and artificial persons practicing any commercial, industrial, professional, or service business in any country on basis of reciprocity
- Other artificial persons
Documents Required for Trademark Registration in UAE
The documents that are required for the trademark registration in the UAE are as following:
- Sample of the trademark design
- UAE Trade License
- This can be an onshore UAE company or even a Freezone company
- Comprehensive list of the goods and services which are to be protected
- Passport and Power of Attorney of the business owner
How to Register a Trademark in the UAE
Rizmona specializes in the formation of business in the UAE and as such are able to guide you through these tedious processes and how to overcome them. The trademark registration process is the same as it requires some pre-planning and research. Here are all the things that need to be taken into consideration beforehand:
- Not all trademarks can be registered as trademarks in the UAE, so it’s critical to first establish that your trademark is eligible for protection.
- Carry out comprehensive research to ensure that there is no conflict associated with your proposed trademark.
- Determine the correct class for your trademark, to ensure that it correctly represents the goods or services that are vital to your business.
- The trademark will be advertised in the official trademark journals. If there are no objections after the publication, then the registration process can begin.
- Make sure that the trademark is not already registered under the same class
- Fill out the application and attach all the required documents as mentioned in this guide
- Pay the fee for the registration process to be completed
- Wait for the application to be reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Economy
- Publish the announcement in two local Arabic-language newspapers
- Receive the trademark registration certificate
Trademark Registration Fee in UAE
The trademark registration takes anywhere between 18 months to 24 months on average. The cost varies and depends on the type of application, once accepted, is valid for ten years and after that, you will need to apply for renewal.
Since rules and regulations are subject to change, make sure that you check the updated information prior to commencing your application process.
Benefits of Registering a Trademark
Since a trademark can also be a replacement for your brand name, it should be something that is easy to remember and appealing in its campaign value. The trademark offers a number of benefits and some of them are listed as follows:
Having your trademark approved once means that you can use it again for all the products falling under the same class that you applied for. The owners enjoy the sole ownership of the branding and stop others from using it under the same class where it is registered. It gives you special privileges that you can utilize for a lifetime.
Trust Building and Goodwill
If branding and marketing have shown anything conclusive over the years then it is that through trademark utilization, you can establish trust and goodwill amongst the consumers or potential buyers. It helps retain the customer base whilst attracting new ones.
The trademark also enables the customers and buyers to find your product with ease. It identifies your product and differentiates it from its competition in the market which is one of the most valuable things in marketing. The logo/phrase also communicates your vision, quality, or the unique characteristic of your company and the organization itself.
Recognition to Product’s Quality
Customers often attach a product’s quality to its brand name which creates an image in the market. If you create a positive image then it becomes much easier for you to sell other products in the same class much easily as the customer base is already developed and is already purchasing your product.
Usage of Trademark Symbol
The ® symbol is used when any trademark has been registered. This is significant as it communicates a sense of reliability amongst the customer base. It is exclusive of all types of usages as well as rights. You are legally allowed to sue anyone who tries to steal your concept.
Protection Against Infringement
One of the fundamental reasons why a trademark is registered is to register your logo, tagline, a phrase as your own for the particular field that you are in. This is done so no competitor can use your wordmark. It can also act as a potential source of income if you decide to sell your trademark to other companies as many franchises do.
How to Renew Trademark Registration in UAE
After the trademark validity is finished, the organization is required to renew its trademark within three months from the expiry date. Each month the process is delayed, there is a fine imposed by the UAE authorities of AED 1,000 per month.
Similar to the registration process, the renewal process follows the same pattern.
Apart from the renewal fees, you are also required to submit the old registration certificate as well. The renewal of the trademark in the UAE takes around 30 to 45 days to complete and after that, the authorities will contact you and inform you of the renewal.
How to Cancel Trademark Registration in UAE
The cancelation process for the trademark registration can also be conducted through the Ministry of Economy website as well. In order to do that, you have to navigate to the ‘Trademarks’ page and under ‘Modification and Maintenance Services you will have to select the ‘Cancel Registered Trademark by Owner Request’ option.
The documents required to carry out this process are a copy of the old registration certificate and other documents required is mentioned on the website. Once you have successfully submitted the application, there is a cancellation fee to be paid which is AED 1,500.
Similar to the registration process, the cancelation has also to be announced by publishing it in two local Arabic-language newspapers after the process has been completed.