Intellectual property law is the area of law dealing with legal rights to creative works, innovative technologies, and inventions. Intellectual property law also controls who gets to use creations including new products, designs, and artistic works.
Just as the legal system protects ownership of real estate and personal property, it also protects the exclusive control of intangible assets, such as logos, works of art, technological coding, inventions, music, written works, and many other scientific and creative works. The purpose of these laws is to give an incentive for people to develop creative works that benefit society, by ensuring the individuals who create and invent can profit from their work without fear of misappropriation by others.
UAE Intellectual Property Laws
UAE law recognises a broad range of national intellectual property rights. The rules for claiming exclusive rights to a work and the rules for enforcing those rights vary depending on the type of the creation. The areas of intellectual property law include Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and Industrial Design Rights.
Protected under Federal Law no. 7, copyrights protect an owner’s right to their creative work. Products covered by copyright laws may include performances, music, print, choreography, scripts, and movies. When an individual has a legal copyright for their creative work, other people can’t reproduce their work for profit without expressed permission.
Valid for 20 years upon approval, to receive a copyright the applicant must be able to prove their work is unique. Additionally, copyrights in the UAE require a signed WIPO Copyright Treaty. The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is a special agreement under the Berne Convention which “deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment. In addition to the rights recognized by the Berne Convention, they are granted certain economic rights. The Treaty also deals with two subject matters to be protected by copyright: (i) computer programs, whatever the mode or form of their expression; and (ii) compilations of data or other material (“databases”).”
Copyrights remain in effect for:
- 50 years after the death of the author
- 25 years for works of art
- 20 years for radio, television, and movie programmes
Protected under Federal Law no. 17, a patent is the legal right to an original invention. During the term of the patent, no one else can design, make, sell, or distribute the product without permission.
Valid for 20 years, asking for patent protection requires careful documentation of the design and production of a unique invention. To qualify for a patent, an applicant must show that their idea is entirely new and unique. Additionally, they must be able to carefully describe the patent in sufficient detail so both government officials and the public can ascertain what their invention is and what rights they have to their product.
Protected under Federal Law no. 37, a trademark is a design, symbol, lettering, or words which represent a product or a company. It’s a legally recognised identifier for a brand, organisation, or product. Valid for 10 years, a trademark distinguishes one company or product from another.
Industrial Design Rights
Sometimes, inventors don’t make products. Instead, they create new designs and plans to make products, called industrial designs. Industrial design rights protect the rights of the creators to use and profit from their creations. Protected under Federal Law no. 17, industrial design rights are protected for 10 years upon applicant approval.
Intellectual Property Legislations in UAE
Intellectual Property laws are one of the peaks where the UAE has successfully emerged as a flagbearer in the Middle East pertaining to execution, enforcement, and implication of Intellectual Property Laws and its various treaties. The UAE is a signatory to almost every major globally recognised IP convention and Treaty, to include:
- Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (September 30, 2016)
- WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (June 9, 2005)
- Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (January 14, 2005)
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (July 14, 2004)
- WIPO Copyright Treaty (July 14, 2004), the Patent Cooperation Treaty (March 10, 1999)
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (September 19, 1996)
- Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (September 24, 1974)
With the evolution of the digital age, intellectual property law has significantly changed. Enforcement of intellectual property has become more challenging as the vast internet has become a harbour for abuses of intellectual property rights. However, this area of law continues to grow and evolve.
At Masoud Law, we leverage our industry knowledge and expertise to help individuals and organizations to protect their interests. Our team of lawyers is well versed in various aspects of local and international laws and will work tirelessly to ensure your personal and professional interests are protected. Additionally, our corporate lawyers can help you navigate the intricacies of Trademark and Intellectual Property Law to ensure your assets are protected.
For more information, contact a member of our legal team.