Ras Al Khaimah: Law of Offshore
Intellectual Property Law
In 1992, the UAE passed three laws pertaining to intellectual property: a copyright law, a trademark law, and a patent law. The UAE began enforcing the copyright law on September 1, 1994. The government began registration of trademarks and patents in 1993.
Patents: Federal Law Number 44 protects new inventions, original improvements, new concepts, trade secrets and industrial know-how, industrial patterns and designs. The Ministry of Finance and Industry houses the patent office.
Trademarks: Federal Law Number 37 regulates trademarks. The UAE has a trademark office in the Ministry of Economy and Commerce which is accepting registration applications.
The trademark law provides protection for 10 years, with possible renewal options. Owners of registered trademarks have the right to file legal actions in UAE courts in cases of infringement. The courts are empowered to attach, seize, destroy or re-export counterfeit goods. Criminal penalties can include fines and/or imprisonment.
In 2003, the UAE Ministry of Economy and Commerce invited industry to launch an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) forum in the UAE.
UAE laws prohibit using illegal software in IT applications and require companies to provide adequate proofs on the usage of original software. According to the findings of the eighth annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study for the year 2002, UAE's leading anti-piracy role in the region for the seventh consecutive year has resulted in the decrease in piracy rates from 86% in 1994 to 36% in 2002 and while this figure has not improved significantly over the following years (35% in 2007), the UAE is recognised as being among those countries with the lowest piracy rates.
The UAE Ministry of Economy and Commerce has also begun to strengthen the working of the trademarks committee and is beginning to look into the various proposals sent to this body besides preparing a list of investigators in order to enhance the implementation of the laws.