Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce and industry.
Law protects IP through patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. IP aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish. As an important intangible asset of the business, IP gives its partners and financial institutions the confidence to invest in or collaborate with the organization.
A patent is a right granted to the owner of an invention that prevents others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without his permission. A patentable invention can be a product or a process that gives a new technical solution to a problem. It can also be a new method of doing things, the composition of a new product, or a technical improvement on how certain objects work.
Patent Protection in the UAE lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the original application. The Industrial Property Office administers patents and Designs under the supervision of Industrial Property Directorate, Ministry of Finance and Industry.
A trade mark is a sign that you can use to distinguish your business’ goods or services from those of other traders. A trade mark can be represented graphically in the form of your company’s logo or a signature.
Through a registered trade mark, you can protect your brand (or “mark”) by restricting other people from using its name or logo. Once acquired, a trade mark can last indefinitely as long as you renew it every 10 years. Because a registered trade mark is a form of IP, you can license or assign it to others.
In the UAE, the Trademark section administers Trademarks under the supervision of the ministry of Economy. The law includes the definition of trademarks, registration and cancellation procedure, transfer of ownership and mortgage, licensing others to use trademarks, penalties for trademark law infringement and provisions.
We should be aware that a company’s name is a Trade-name and NOT a Trade-mark. Trade-names are issued by the Economic department of Dubai whereas trademarks fall within the jurisdiction of the ministry of economy. Registration of a trade-name does not create a trademark.
Copyright protects works like novels, computer programmers, plays, sheet music and paintings. Generally, the author of a copyright work has the right to reproduce, publish, perform, communicate and adapt his work. These exclusive rights form the bundle of rights that we call copyright and enable the owner to control the commercial exploitation of his work.
The UAE copyright law protects work such as works of art, motion pictures, computer software, translations of original works and the like through the issuance of copyright license. A contract has to be formulated between parties in order to formalize the relationship.
Unauthorized publication of a work constitutes a criminal offence and the perpetrator if fined minimum fifty thousand UAE Dirhams.
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement (SA), is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. NDAs are commonly signed when two companies, individuals, or other entities (such as partnerships, societies, etc.) are considering doing business and need to understand the processes used in each other’s business for the purpose of evaluating the potential business relationship. NDAs can be “mutual”, meaning both parties are restricted in their use of the materials provided, or they can restrict the use of material by a single party.
It is also possible for an employee to sign an NDA or NDA-like agreement with an employer. In fact, some employment agreements will include a clause restricting employees’ use and dissemination of company-owned confidential information.