Brand protection in the GCC and wider Middle East has historically been fraught with difficulties. High fees and burdensome formality requirements have long been a source of frustration for international filers. When coupled with the general lack of suitable infrastructures and limited community knowledge of intellectual property (IP) rights, international brand owners had reason to be concerned when considering the Middle East as a jurisdiction to protect and launch in.
While change was typically piecemeal, the last couple of years has started to see a significant gear shift in the protection of IP, particularly trade marks. Leading the charge is the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where competition between the two powerhouses is forcing change with respect to IP for the better.
IP updates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
September 2021 saw the UAE accede to the Madrid Protocol, followed by a new trade mark law that came into effect in January 2022. While the UAE was not the first GCC country to join the Madrid system and the new law still leaves some gaps, the updates are certainly a step in the right direction, solidifying the UAE’s intention to adhere to international best practice and standards. Read more