Historical succession of intellectual property legislations in the UAE

Protection of intellectual property in the UAE commenced when the UAE was formed in 1971 as the UAE’s Constitution protects and honors intellectual property in general as it is evident in Article 21 of the Constitution that states “intellectual property is well protected”, and also evident in Article 121 that assigned to the Federation the task of promulgating the intellectual property law stating “…the Federation shall solely promulgate the following: …protection of literary, artistic, industrial, and copyrights – printed materials and publications…”. Moreover, Article 107 of the Civil Transactions Law of the UAE states that “moral rights are those that apply to immaterial things” and “special regulations of the Law apply to rights of authors, inventors, artists, trademarks, and other moral rights.”

The UAE joined WIPO in 1975. In 1994, the UAE joined the GATT agreement relating to the trade of goods and commodities. The GATT agreement required that intellectual property protection laws exist and, as such, Federal Law No. 40 of 1992 regarding copyrights was issued which was later repealed by Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 regarding copyrights and related rights. Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 regarding trademarks was also issued and later amended by Law No. 8 of 2002. In addition, Federal Law No. 44 of 1992 regarding regulating and protecting industrial property of patents, designs, and prototypes which was later amended by Federal Law No. 17 of 2002.

The UAE also joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1996 which required updating the legislations of countries in order to meet the new international requirements. The WTO reviews the intellectual property laws of the UAE periodically as reviewing the intellectual property legislations was completed in 2001 and the results were positive.

International treaties that the UAE has joined

In order to be effective, intellectual property laws must be consistent with the principles of international treaties in the field of intellectual property that have appeared as a result of the needs of countries. These principles must be incorporated in the national legislations of each country and regulated with flexibility and away from complex procedures that could affect the commercial activities and performance of different countries or hinder or delay commercial trade between different countries. Recognizing the importance of international cooperation in pursuit of the development of intellectual property protection, the UAE joined many international treaties that are governed by international organizations specialized in this field.

International treaties in the field of intellectual Property

  • Joining WIPO Treaty (in 1974)
  • TRIPS Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (in 1994)

First: in the domain of trademarks:

  • PARIS Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (in 1996)

Second: in the domain of patents:

  • Cooperation Treaty for Patents (in 1998)
  • GCC Patents Office (in 1998)

Third: in the domain of copyrights and related rights:

  • BERNE Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (in 2004)
  • ROME Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (in 2004)
  • WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) (in 2004)
  • WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) (in 2005)

Intellectual property in the UAE is divided into copyrights and related rights, trademarks, and industrial patents, designs and prototypes.

* Source: Ministry of Economy, Abu Dhabi Office, P.O.Box: 904, Telephone: 026271100