While registration of a trade mark is not mandatory in the UAE, it could be the most important insurance policy you invest in and here are a few reasons why….


While it is possible to oppose a trade mark application with an earlier trade mark that is not registered, the opponent has a far higher hurdle to jump, in order to succeed in opposition proceedings before the Ministry of Economy (Trade Marks Division). It will require extensive evidence of earlier use and goodwill and even with this, the outcome can be uncertain.

Trade Mark Infringement – court actions

In this region, registration is king because trying to enforce an unregistered trade mark against a third party infringing your trade mark is an unpredictable, not to mention, a costly affair. The registration certificate is a stamp unequivocally demonstrating that your brand belongs to you.

Counterfeiting – raids and penalites

In Dubai, the Dubai Economy makes huge efforts to clear the market of counterfeit goods and at the brand owner’s request (and if justified), will make raids and issue severe penalties to those trading in counterfeit goods. This is only possible with a trade mark registration proving ownership.

Retail – permit for signage

Any individual or entity seeking to open a retail outlet in Dubai for the sale of goods must obtain a signage permit. If that company or individual wishes to use a different trading name, then it must provide evidence of a trade mark registration.

Customs interventions

Dubai is considered an important gateway for the movement of goods between East and West. The downside of this of course, is that it invites the traffic of unauthorised goods (e.g. counterfeits).

In a bid to tackle this activity, the Dubai Customs allows brand owners to record a trade mark in their IP database. Having a record of a registered trade mark and being educated by the brand owner as to what goods are genuine and which are illegitimate, assists Customs in preventing the smuggling of counterfeit goods and goods that violate the rights of brand owners.

Licensing and franchising

A trade mark that has acquired goodwill is a valuable asset that can be exploited by the brand owner by means of licensing and franchising. The benefits of a regular royalty stream, and continued use and recognition of your brand through the licensee or franchisee’s marketing and trading activities can only really be realised with a trade mark registration. A franchisee, licensee or venture capital company will seldom invest in a brand that has not been registered.

If you want to know more on how we can help in the enforcement or commercialisation of your brand, please drop us a line for a consultation.