By Jacqueline Perrottet
Every business owner can relate to the immeasurable hours, sweat, and tears that they pour into building their business and developing their brand. From coming up with a name, to designing a logo, creating a tagline, and everything in-between, there are many components that make your brand unique and identifiable.
At Itani & Company we believe it is important for businesses, of all sizes and industries, to protect their brand’s unique identity, which often begins with registering trademarks. What does this include exactly? Trademarks can include almost anything that identifies the origin of a good or service and distinguishes them from others. The more obvious examples are logos, symbols, and taglines, but some of the more obscure examples are sounds, smells, colors, even a store layout in certain circumstances.
While one can register a trademark through the UAE Ministry of Economy without hiring a lawyer, Siriani advises against it. “There is more to filing than just submitting an application,” he stated when broaching the subject further, warning of the incorrect information about trademarks even from reputable sources in the region. For instance, a recent article in a local publication suggested companies use copyrights to register their brand instead of trademarks. While this suggestion is not only incorrect, it can have disastrous repercussions for a brand.
We spoke with trademark expert, Victor Siriani, Managing Partner of AVID Intellectual Property, to delve into the issue of trademarks and provide useful information on the topic. According to Siriani, the benefits from registering a trademark are many, but the most notable includes protecting your business from other businesses imitating your brand. Additionally, trademarks become an asset, which can have real monetary value. An example provided is Google’s trademark valued at US$200 billion. Yes, you read correctly—billion!
If you are interested in the fine print of trademarks we recommend contacting a reputable source such as AVID Intellectual Property. Included below are further details from Siriani that may also answer some of your basic questions on the subject.
Main benefits from registering a trademark
Trademark registration protects your business from other businesses imitating your trademark, or worse registering your trademark. Registration, also creates and increases the value of your trademark.
Estimated costs for trademarking in the UAE
The cost is different from one country to another, however, is not affected by the type of trademark (ex. tagline, design, logo). In the UAE, the disbursement costs are AED7,348 and professional fees of AED3,122 per each trademark application.
Validity period of a trademark
Trademarks are registered for 10 years and they can be renewed indefinitely at the end of each registration period. This is applicable for almost all countries worldwide with a few exceptions.
Coverage of a UAE registered trademark
The UAE registration is federal covering all seven Emirates. For international filings, generally you must file in each country or jurisdiction separately. However, there are two systems where you can file one application and cover multiple countries: EU application covering all the current EU members and any countries that later join the EU, and Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) covering 17 mainly French speaking African countries.
How to register in other countries
Local firms can assist with worldwide registrations, both in terms of filing and protecting their trademarks on a worldwide basis. If filing outside a country of residence, then the applicant must use an agent and cannot file directly.
Regional enforcement on trademarks
Trademarks are absolutely enforceable in the region. Depending on the nature of the infringement, there are different means to take action.
Additional consideration regarding trademark registration
As much as it is important to register trademarks, it is also very important not to infringe on someone else’s trademark which could lead you into legal problems.
Jacqueline’s career has spanned a multitude of roles that have combined both marketing strategy and implementation in both the United States and United Arab Emirates. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a diligent eye to her work as a Marketing Manager on the I&Co. team.