UAE Laws and Islamic Finance

Laws of the UAE and Islamic Finance

Archive for January 21, 2010

Industrial Property Rights In the UAE


Industrial Property in the UAE is regulated by Federal Law No. 17 of 2002 on Regulating and Protecting Industrial Property for Patents, Designs, and Industrial Models.  This law protects inventions by patents or utility certificates as well as protects know-how, industrial drawing and designs and industrial models. 

1. Patents

What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is:

  • A product, or
  • A process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or
  •  Offers a new technical solution to a problem.

 Condition for patent protection:

  • It must show an element of novelty, that is, some new characteristic which is not known in the body of existing knowledge in its technical field;
  • The invention must show an inventive step, which could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the technical field;
  • Finally, its industrial applicabality and subject matter must be accepted as “patentable” under law.

 Non-patentable Invention by Law:

  • Scientific theories, discoveries and mathematical methods;
  • Plant or animal varieties, or biological processes for the production of plants and animals, with the exception of microbiological processes and products;
  • Commercial methods or methods for medical treatment;
  • Inventions which, if disclosed or exploited, would be contrary to public policy and morality.

 Term of Protection:

  • The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years from the filing date or from  the (PCT) international filing date.  The UAE is a member of the Patent Co-operation Treaty (“PCT”) and the Federal Law No. 17 of 2002 on Regulating and Protecting Industrial Property for Patents, Designs, and Industrial Models allows for the filing of an International Patent Application with the Industrial Property Department of the Ministry of Economy under the PCT. 

What Kind of Protection Does a Patent Offer?

  • Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner’s consent;
  • These patent rights are usually enforceable in a court, which, in most systems, holds the authority to stop patent infringement.  Conversely, a court can also declare a patent invalid upon a successful challenge by a third party.

What Rights Does a Patent Owner Have ?

  • A patent owner has the right to decide who may or may not use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected.
  • The patent owner may give permission to or license other parties to use the invention on mutually agreed terms.  License contracts related to patents, utility certificates, and industrial designs, drawings, and models must be in writing and signed by the parties as well as registered with the Industrial Property Department of the Ministry of Economy in order to have legal effect.
  • The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else, who will then become the new owner of the patent.
  • Once a patent expires, the protection ends and an invention enters the public domain.  Therefore, the owner no longer holds exclusive rights to the invention, which becomes available to commercial exploitation by others.
  • The patent owner cannot prevent the use of his or her  invention for the purposes of scientific research and development.


2. Utility Certificate

  • A utility certificate may be granted for any new invention that is industrially applicable but does not involve an inventive step sufficient to such an extent that it may be granted a patent.
  • The term of protection is 10 years from the filing date.
  •  This certificate affords the same rights as that of a patent owner.
  • In order to get a utility certificate one must follow the same steps for the granting of a patent application.
  • The utility model condition includes: novelty and industrial applicability.


3. Industrial Drawing and Design Certificate

  • An industrial design is any composition of lines or color or any combination of these features, which gives a special appearance to and can serve as a pattern for an industrial product or handicraft.
  • An industrial model is any original three dimensional form, which gives a special appearance to and can serve as a pattern for an industrial product or handicraft.
  • An industrial drawing and design certificate may be granted as long as it does not violate the public order or morals of the state.
  • The term of protection is 10 years from the filing date.
  • The owner of an industrial drawing and design certificate can prevent any other party from undertaking the following activities:
  1. Use of the industrial drawing, design, or model  for manufacturing any product;
  2. Importation or acquisition of any product relating to the industrial drawing, design, or model with the intention of using or selling that product.


 4. Know-How

  • Know-how is technical and practically useful information, data, or knowledge gathered through professional experience. 
  • Know-how is protected as long as it has not been published or placed in the public domain.


Patents and utility certificates and industrial design and drawing certificates are granted through a decision of the Minister of Finance and Industry, which is published in a periodical journal.  Any party can file an opposition notice with the Ministry of Finance and Industry within 60 days from the date of publication, and if no opposition is filed, the patent, utility certificate, or industrial design and drawing certificate can be registered. 

Preventive Measures, Offenses and Penalties: 

  • The owner or beneficiary of an industrial property right may request the competent court, either before or during the civil or criminal proceedings, to issue a writ of attachment on the invention or industrial design, or on the establishment using or exploiting any of the industrial property titles mentioned herein, in relation to which an infringement or an unlawful act has been committed.
  • The person requesting the attachment shall deposit a guarantee in the court before the writ of attachment is issued.  The disdainer shall institute court proceedings within eight days from the date of issue of the writ, failing to which, the writ shall be regarded as not having existed.
  • Moreover, it is permissible for the attached person to file an action for compensation within sixty days from the date of the termination of the previous term or from the date of issuance of the final decision of refusing the relevant action, which the seizer preferred.
  • Without prejudice to the stronger penal actions provided for in other laws, any party submitting false documents or giving incorrect information to obtain a letters patent or a utility certificate may be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not less than three months and not more than two years and (or) be charged not less than (5,000) Dirhams and not more than (100,000) Dirhams.  This shall also be applicable to any party simulating an invention, a manufacture method, an element of practical knowledge, or an industrial drawing, design, or model.
  • The court may also order the destruction or impairment of the objects resulting from illegal activities, including machineries and tools adopted for infringement.


This information was taken from the Ministry of Economy, Industrial Sector, Industrial Property Department: 

UAE Laws and Islamic Finance

Laws of the UAE and Islamic Finance