The United Arab Emirates has more than 10 million inhabitants, 90% of which are expatriates, a mixture of cultures and nationalities, and more than 16 million tourists annually. Almost all the world's major brands are represented in this country since consumers of products who live and rest in the UAE have come here from different parts of the world.
The registration procedure for brands in the UAE usually goes through agencies, distribution companies, or franchising.
It is extremely important for trademark owners to comply with all the requirements of the UAE legislation and legally correct the brand in order to avoid problems in the future. If you make mistakes when registering a trademark, you can face the payment of fines or even the loss of registration.
The UAE has strict agency laws that are somewhat favorable to local agents. Distribution services and franchises, if registered as an agency, are also regulated by the Commercial Agencies Act. On the other hand, there is still no law governing the franchise as such, and if it is not registered as an agency agreement, such agreements are considered under various civil and commercial laws.
In accordance with the UAE Commercial Agencies Law, an agent can be:
- UAE citizen;
- a company 100% owned by a UAE citizen;
- Public Joint Stock Company (PJSC), at least 51% of the shares of which belong to a citizen of the UAE;
- a company wholly owned by a PJSC with a share of at least 51% of a UAE citizen.
Agency contracts registered with the Ministry of Economy cannot be terminated except by mutual agreement or gross breach of contract by the agent, which must be established through documentation with the Commercial Agencies Committee or in the UAE courts. The same provisions apply to termination upon renewal of fixed-term agency contracts. In addition to the latter, the current agent may demand compensation for losses incurred as a result of the termination of the agency, and may also restrict the import of goods by the new agent until the agency is deregistered by order of the Committee or the Court.
The above provisions also apply to distributors or franchises that are registered as an agency with the Ministry of Economy. At the same time, if the distribution or franchise agreement is not registered with the Ministry, it is not regulated by the Law on Agencies.
Licensing of trademarks in the UAE.
You can also get a license for your trademark in the UAE. The law provides that in order to register a trademark license, the trademark must first be registered in the United Arab Emirates. The validity period of the license cannot exceed the period of validity of the trademark registration, however, it can be renewed after the renewal of the trademark registration. Likewise, the scope of the license should be limited to goods or services protected by trademark registration.
Once the license agreement is signed, it must be registered with the UAE Trademark Office, otherwise, it does not grant any rights to the licensor or licensee against third parties.
Compared to agency agreements, it is relatively easier to terminate or refuse to renew a trademark license agreement. For this, it is important that the License Agreement clearly grants the Licensor the right of termination and non-renewal. In the event that such powers are not transferred to the Licensor in the agreement, or the consent of the Licensee is required at the time of termination or non-renewal, or the Licensor will have to obtain a positive decision from the Court of Competent Jurisdiction in the UAE.
The UAE Trademark Law states that the Licensor cannot impose unnecessary terms in the license agreement; however, the following conditions are permitted:
- Restriction of jurisdiction, that is, a license agreement can be both for the entire territory of the UAE, and for some regions and emirates;
- The license can be either exclusive or non-exclusive;
- Sublicensing may be limited;
- A limitation on the license validity period may be introduced;
- Clauses on quality control may be included;
- Provisions on the protection of business reputation associated with a trademark, that is, on the prevention of any actions or omissions leading to dilution of the brand, can be agreed upon between the parties;
Thus, trademark licensing is the most attractive option for brand owners when locating a business in the UAE. Make Fortune Business Solutions experts will help you register your business in the UAE and obtain licenses for your trademark. Leave your contacts on our website and we will contact you shortly. Our goal is to do everything possible for your business in the UAE to develop and prosper!