UAE/GCC IP/Legal Practice

United Arab Emirates is one of the largest economies in the Gulf Cooperation Council with the nominal gross domestic product of US$414.2B and a real GDP of $392.8B. With the considerate investment along with the economic liberalization, the economy of UAE has seen their real GDP to become more than triple in the last four decades making it one of the richest countries with the GDP per capita almost 80% higher than the OECD average. For businesses it offers the best environment with stable political and macroeconomic condition, world class general and ICT infrastructure.

The United Arab Emirates protects the patents in accordance with the Federal Law No. 31 of 2016, promulgated by Law No. 17 of 2002 on Regulation and Protection of Industrial Property of Patents, Industrial Drawings and Designs.A patent protection in the UAE is granted for any new invention resulting from an innovative idea or innovative improvement of an invention in all fields of technology, provided that such an idea or innovative improvement has a scientific basis and is applicable. The invention shall be deemed industrially applicable in its broadest term if used or utilised in such fields as agriculture, fisheries, handicrafts and services. Examples of patents that are not protected include:

  • Researches, plant and animal species, and biological methods for production of animal and plant excluding microbiological methods and their products
  • Diagnostic methods, treatments and surgical operations needed for humans and animals
  • Scientific and mathematical principles, discoveries and methods
  • Guidelines, rules or methods followed to conduct business, perform mental activities or play games
  • Invention that may lead to violation of public order or morals.
Registration of Patents

International Centre for Patent Registration (ICPR) under Ministry of Economy is the competent authority to register patents in the UAE. To register a patent, you can submit an online application via the ministry’s website. The filed application may contain a request to claim a priority of an application that has been filed in another state being a party of an agreement or a treaty with the UAE. In this case, the application date and number of the previously filed application should be indicated together with the name of the state, as provided for in the implementing regulations of this law. The priority term shall be twelve months as of the date of first filing.

Documents Required
  • A power of attorney duly legalized
  • If the applicant is a company, a duly legalized extract from the Commercial Register or the Memorandum of Association must be presented
  • A copy of the English specification and claims with its Arabic translation
  • A set of drawings related to the invention
  • An abstract of the invention
  • A duly legalized deed of assignment signed by the inventor, in case the applicant is not the inventor
  • A certified copy of the application that shows the filing date, number and country
Examination Process

Upon review and acceptance of the application, the patent is then sent for examination. This process requires additional fees and can take up to two years to complete. During this process, the patent is closely examined for the three criteria, and it is possible that more information and documentation may be requested during this examination period.

Should the patent be rejected, the applicant has sixty days to submit a request to have the application re-examined. Working closely with a patent lawyer to develop a comprehensive argument to address the reason for the rejection is the most effective way to overturn the rejection.

If the patent application is accepted, the Ministry of Economy publishes the patent application information in the Official Gazette of the UAE. There is a window of sixty days for comments. During this time, anyone opposing the granting of the patent can present, in writing, any objections. This must include information as to why the patent should not be granted.

Official Fees
New application: for individuals AED 1,000
New application: for companies AED 2,000
Request search and first examination: for individuals AED 7,000
Request search and first examination: for companies AED 7,000
Request 2nd/3rd examination: for individuals AED 7,000
Request 2nd/3rd examination: for companies AED 5,000
Request 1st publication No fees required (but the payment process must be completed)
Request grievance and objection (Appeal) No fees required (but the payment process must be completed)
Annual maintenance fee within 3 months from the due date No fees required (but the payment process must be completed)
Penalties - Late charges (within 3 months from the due date): for individuals AED 200/month
Penalties - Late charges (within 3 months from the due date): for companies AED 400/month
Retrieval of application (after 6 months from the due date) No fees required (but the payment process must be completed)
Term of Patents

The term of the letters patent shall be a period of twenty years, and ten years for the utility certificate as of the date of filing the application. An annual fee shall be payable on the letters patent or the utility certificate, and shall be paid by the beginning of each year starting from the year following the date of filing the applications related. If such a fee has not been duly paid by the owner of the letters patent within a three-month period, then another grace period of three months shall be allowed, within which time the due fee is to be paid, provided that a late - fee shall be added.

In all instances, the annual fees may be paid in advance for the entire term of the letters patent or the utility certificate or for parts thereof. If the fee is not duly paid by the owner of the letters patent or by the holder of the utility certificate within the prescribed period indicated herein (six months from the due date), the letters patent or the utility certificate shall then lapse.