United Advocates

UAE Unveils New Rules in Trademark Law: Sounds, Scents, and Holograms now Recognized

Companies and individuals in the UAE have the opportunity to register their trademarks in diverse forms such as sounds, scents, geographical indication marks, and holograms. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, shared during the launch of the new intellectual property (IP) system in Dubai that the ministry is actively working to expand trademark registration to encompass new categories of nontraditional trademarks.

The UAE introduced a comprehensive overhaul of its intellectual property rights laws in 2021

Abdullah Al Saleh, the undersecretary of foreign trade and industry at the Ministry of Economy, explained that the previous law did not address the protection of holograms, sounds, and scents, whereas the new legislation encompasses these aspects. He elaborated on the establishment of a registration system for nontraditional trademarks, citing examples such as the registration of unique scents encountered in establishments like hotels and distinctive musical tones heard in media content.

In 2023, there was a surge in trademark registration applications, marking a 9.6% increase from the previous year. Additionally, registered trademarks experienced a 2.9% growth, and the registration of intellectual works saw a significant rise of 29.5%.

The new intellectual property system encompasses 11 comprehensive initiatives across various sectors and applications:

  • The Innovation Hub provides an online platform to support UAE creators through technical guidance and assistance with patent registration.
  • The Patent Hive initiative aims to boost the number of granted patents with a target of achieving 6,000 new registrations by 2026.
  • The Emirati ‘Fahes’ initiative focuses on enhancing the skills and competitiveness of local talents in the field of intellectual property.
  • InnovLAB strengthens innovation incubators and provides support.
  • InstaBlock addresses livestream copyright infringement complaints.
  • IP Sport aims to increase trademark registrations in the UAE’s sports sector.
  • One Day TM expedites trademark registration certificate issuance within a single business day.
  • The IP Platform initiative aims to connect and integrate data from various government departments responsible for enforcing intellectual property rights.
  • ‘Hayyakom’ is launched in conjunction with the UAE’s hosting of the INTA Meeting.
  • The IP School programme develops training programmes for intellectual property, endorsed by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • The virtual character ‘Aisha’ is introduced to raise awareness about intellectual property rights and engage with the public through events and social media platforms.

The new system revolves around four main pillars: protecting intellectual property rights, minimizing infringements and resolving conflicts, supporting research and development-based projects, enhancing patent services through AI technology, and promoting intellectual property protection results domestically and internationally.

Al Saleh emphasized that this initiative aligns with the UAE’s vision to become a global hub for the new economy and the most prosperous society globally by 2031.