Big events cast their shadows ahead: Dubai has just won the bid for hosting the EXPO 2020, and it is expected that this event alone will create 270,000 new jobs and boost UAE’s gross domestic product by US$ 800 million, starting from today. Surely, a significant part of the UAE’s national economy is due to the commerce of products bearing internationally renowned trademarks. It is thus highly advisable to ensure now that your brands are protected, in time for the launch of the boom.
One of the easiest and most (cost)effective measures to this purpose, is to file the trademarks with their Customs as all trademarks which have been registered with the Ministry of Economy in the UAE are eligible for Customs monitoring.
The duration corresponds to the validity of the trademark itself, i.e. it lasts for the first ten years term, and can be renewed alike.
Currently, the Customs recordal is effective in the three Emirates: Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah (the latter two are both located north of Dubai). This includes Jebel Ali, the world’s tenth biggest port, which in 2012 handled 13.3 million containers, equating to more than 36,000 containers every day.
The trademark owner has the opportunity to train the Customs officers (ideally through a brief on-site seminar) so they become familiar with the original goods and can better detect typical counterfeits. Officers have the duty to check imports and exports and to block any shipment suspected of containing fraudulent goods. Samples are sent to the applicant, who may then file a full complaint (followed by the prescribed fees of ca. US$ 550 and a security deposit of ca. US$ 1,350). If confirmed to be counterfeit, the destruction of the goods can be ordered by the authorities. All costs will have to be borne by the trademark owner, who may later take legal action against the counterfeiter for reimbursement.
Applications, which have to be filed in Arabic, typically consist of:
- certified copies of the trademark registration certificates
- power of attorney
- a pledge to care for all costs involved
- details of the trademark owner and its representative
- description of the original trademarks and goods
- explanation about approved trade channels
- information on counterfeit products, suspected companies and their trade channels.
The official fees for the recordal are modest: ca. US$ 100 per trademark.
Despite this simple procedure, quite surprisingly, not even 1.5% of all registered UAE trademarks have been filed yet with the local Customs. Participating in the EXPO 2020 or not, we advise trademark owners to add this easy plus-value to their protection portfolio soon.
You are welcome to contact our local presence in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) at +971.561.379.295 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like support in handling the matters listed above or need advice or clarification on any of these aspects.