January 20, 2022

The UAE implements reformed trademark legislation and working week format

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has implemented a new version of its national trademark law. The legislation entered into effect on January 2, 2022, and covers a range of aspects related to trademark filing, registration, and maintenance.

As per the amendments to the law, the UAE now has an expanded definition of a trademark, the scope of which now includes non-conventional types of mark. As such, applicants may now file for the protection of sound, voice and smell marks, as well as those of a holographic or 3-Dimensional nature. Moreover, the new legislation allows for the filing and registration of Geographical Indications in the jurisdiction.

Another considerable change is the introduction of the multiple class system, which will allow applicants to seek trademark protection in a single application for more than 1 class in the UAE, modernising the previous system that only allowed for single class filings prior. Further, temporary trademark protection for use during participation in exhibitions is now available for qualifying mark applicants.

The time frame for the examination of a trademark application has also been revised, now constituting a period of 90 days, as opposed to the previous 30-day period. Additionally, the cancellation of bad faith marks is now available after the expiration of a period of 5 years. Any cancellation actions are now to be filed with the Trade Mark Committee instead of with the Courts of the UAE.

Other alterations to the legislation outline that it will no longer be obligatory to register a trademark license on the official register for it to be enforceable.

In addition to the legislative amendments, the UAE also enforced the Madrid Protocol on December 28, 2021, that provides for filing a single international trademark application designating the UAE as of that date. Enforcement of the substantial changes to the IP laws in the UAE, as well as the broadening of relationships with international organizations, demonstrates a commitment to the advancement of the IP field in the UAE, making the IP system more unitary as in much of the world.

In a further move toward a more comprehensive outlook, the UAE has implemented a new working week structure. As such, as of January 1, 2022, those employed by the Federal Government departments of the UAE will work the usual working hours between Monday and Thursday, but are now only required to work for a half day on Fridays. The change is hoped to improve the work life balance in the UAE and to enhance productivity amongst employees.

Author: Danielle Carvey