The United Arab Emirates until recently lacked any specific federal law to deal with intellectual property rights. The only local law which existed in the UAE was the Ras Al-Khaimah Trade Marks Law which was enforceable only within the Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah. Nevertheless, in the absence of federal intellectual property laws, any dispute was tackled according to the general law, the existing related laws, Islamic law, unfair competition law, etc., but courts were frequently faced with questions of the correct forum and of the appropriate law. Accordingly, some of the UAE courts did not provide proper protection for intellectual property rights.
This study attempts to investigate the situation regarding intellectual property before and after the enactment of the recent intellectual property laws in the UAE, i.e. Trade Marks Law No.37 of 1992, Protection of Intellectual Works and Copyright Law No.40 of 1992 and Patents, Drawings and Industrial Designs Law No.44 of 1992, especially with respect to trade marks, patents and copyright.
The study concentrates on:
1- The development of the law of intellectual property generally and in the UAE in particular;
2- The subject matter of intellectual property;
3- the procedures for obtaining ownership of intellectual property;
4- Infringement and remedies for infringement;
5- Protection of intellectual property in general.
Accordingly, this study reviews the intellectual property laws in the UAE, and compares them with certain legislation of other countries in order to identify the gaps in the UAE provisions and to suggest ways of repairing the defects in the UAE legal system.
Research material consulted is of three kinds: 1- that resulting from a computer search for materials on intellectual property; 2- that derived from a traditional review of legal periodicals; 3- the results of an empirical study consisting of interviews with officials, judges, lawyers and businessmen in the UAE. Cairo was visited as the best source of comparative Arabic material.