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Substantial Rise for IPRs Registration Fees in United Arab Emirates

Guiding Principle

The Ministry of Economy in the United Arab Emirates has recently published a list of official fee increases for patent, trademark, design and copyright matters. The increases were made by Ministerial Decision No. 9 of 2015, which appeared in the Official Gazette dated 31 March 2015. The increases come into effect 60 days after publication – namely, on 29 May 2015.

The official fees charged by the UAE Trade Mark Office so far were  already possibly the highest of any national trademark office globally, and these are now set to double. So far the official fees charged by the UAE Trade Mark Office for the registration of a trademark in one class were AED 6,000, which is equivalent to approximately USD 1,650. These fees are now set to increase to AED 12,000 (equivalent to approximately USD 3,300).

A. Timing of Increase

The increase in official fees is due to come into effect on 29 May 2015. This increase was announced in UAE Cabinet Decision No. 9 of 2015, which sets out rate increases for a wide range of services provided by the UAE Ministry of Economy. These rate increases are not limited to the protection of intellectual property rights, but also cover charges for matters such as establishing companies in the UAE and registering commercial agency agreements.

B. Details of Increases

The following table sets out a selection of the increases announced by the UAE Trade Mark Office:

Action Previous Fee (AED) New Fee (AED)
Search fee 250 500
Application filing fee 500 1,000
Publication fee 500 1,000
Registration fee 5,000 10,000
Renewal filing fee 5,000 10,000

What remains to be seen is the overall impact of these increases on IP-owning businesses in the UAE. With registered rights playing a key role in the IP lifecycle, the question is what effect the higher cost of obtaining registered rights will have on the creation, commercialisation and protection of IP rights in the UAE.

C. Existing Applications

The provisions of UAE Cabinet Decision No. 9 of 2015 do not make any provision for applications, which have already been filed by the UAE Trade Mark, Patent and Copyright Offices. The increase will apply to any fees, which fall due on or after 29 May 2015.

The size of the fee increases will no doubt take many by surprise and questions will be asked about their purpose. They may have been intended to raise additional revenue for the UAE government, but if there is a decrease in the number of applications being filed because of the fee increases, revenue may actually decrease. The Ministry may be taking a gamble that the desire for IP registration in the UAE is greater than the deterrent effect of the high costs (possibly now the highest in the world). The extraordinary fee increases in relation to oppositions and appeals do seem to be designed to reduce the number of such cases being filed thereby reducing the Ministry workload and staff costs.

April, 2015 Tarek Jairwdeh
Meyer-Reumann & Partners, Dubai Office
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