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Trademarks Registration in the GCC – Data and Facts

Guiding Principle

Awareness of the importance to protect IP rights is continuously growing all over the globe due to the enormous losses sustained by the industrial countries because of the spread of counterfeit trademarks and products. Protecting IP rights against imitators is of utmost importance, in particular in areas like the Gulf, where faked products are constantly penetrating the market. The fight against faked products starts with the registration of the IP rights.

I. Trademarks in the UAE

According to the data published by the UAE-Ministry of Economy[1], the number of new trademarks for one or more categories being registered in 2010 in the UAE amounts to 14.000. This is the same number of trademarks, which have been registered in 2009, the year the economy was most affected by the financial worldwide crisis. In comparison, in 2008 about 19.000 trademarks have been registered in the UAE.

According to the director of the Trademark Department at the UAE-Ministry of Economy the highest number of trademark registrations was in 2008. This reflects the economic growth of the UAE and its position as a logistic centre and trading hub of the Middle East. The economical environment for attracting the foreign investments and the trademarks again reflects the wide diversity of the nationalities of the owner of these trademarks companies.

It is our understanding that in consideration of the reviving economy the number of new TM-registrations 2011 and 2012 will be beyond those of 2008.

II. Trademarks in the GCC

Statistics show that in 2010, the number of new applications for registration of trademarks in GCC amounted to 49.000. Saudi Arabia ranks first with about 20.000 applications followed by the UAE with 14.000. As already in 2009, the UAE was in the second place after Saudi Arabia.[2]

It is our understanding that 2011 and 2012 will show an increase and that the positions of Saudi Arabia and UAE will not change.

III. Additional Registration with Dubai Customs

The risk of infringement of trademarks corresponds to the increase of the number of new companies starting business in the GCC. Hence, the violation of intellectual property rights affects its owner as well as the macroeconomic of the states, especially in the Gulf region, which is one of the areas that depend heavily on trade for which Dubai, UAE is the most prominent hub in the Gulf. Dubai does not tolerate infringement and a number of Dubai authorities are ready to take action. A preventive action is offered by Dubai Customs.

Dubai Customs provide the possibility to protect your trademarks more efficiently in the UAE (and beyond) by registering your trademark in additional to the TM registration with the TM-Department of the Ministry of Economy.

The fees of the Dubai Customs Authority[3] are very reasonable. If you have products, which are shipped to or transhipped via Dubai into the Gulf this is an opportunity to maximize the protection of your TM, which should be taken right after the registration with the Ministry of Economy.

The Dubai Customs offers trademark owners to register their UAE-registered trademarks in its Register of its Intellectual Property Right Department. Dubai Customs will register your trademark in its own database and compare it with infringing products discovered during random inspections or upon your complaint during or prior to the import into Dubai. By registering your trademark and its details, and by providing the contact details of the TM-owner, Dubai Customs are able to detect trademarks which resemble your trademark but which are or may be counterfeits and inform the TM owner. Subsequently, Dubai Customs can and will intervene at the point of entry of suspicious goods and inform you as the registered owner before allowing the goods to enter the country or to be transhipped.

IV. The M&P IP-Portal for Registration and Actions against Infringements of TM’s and Patent’s

Eventually, we would like to draw your attention to the M&P IP-Portal (http://ip-portal.meyer-reumann.com), which provides for IP-owner a (free) IP-Guide and the opportunity to prepare themselves well in advance to protect their intellectual property rights. This IP-Portal is a platform for the clients to register and to professionally take preventive measurements to protect intellectual property against piracy and infringements. The preventive preparations are free of charge until infringement cases are coming up and (prompt) actions are initiated to be taken.

V. Sesam’s TM and Patent Infringement Services

Sesam Business Consultants (a company closely linked to M&P) is ready to help! Sesam has over twelve years experience in the GCC region and has been working with international clients to develop the markets of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman. Sesam’s projects cover a variety of industries ranging from Green Building/Construction to healthcare and the food & beverage industry to industrial manufacturing. Sesam is also ready for market surveys to fight infringements.

Sesam’s TM infringement services include the following:

  • Market survey and research of background information with regards to potential trademark violators in the UAE
  • Collaborating with the M&P as IP lawyers for supporting legal actions
  • Documenting and securing of physical evidence of infringements
  • Pursuing, supervising and documenting the confiscation and other actions of enforcement.

The full scope of Sesam services may be found on Sesam website: www.sesam-uae.com


[1]     For more information please see the following link of the UAE-Minstry of Economy: www.economy.gov.ae

[2]     For more information please see the following link: www.gulfbase.com/ar/news/140660

[3]     For more information please see the following link of the Dubai Customs: www.dxbcustoms.gov.ae

January, 2013 Tarek Jairwdeh
Meyer-Reumann & Partners, Dubai Office
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