UAE: You can register sound, scent, holograms as trademarks

'If you enter a hotel and smell a perfume, the chain can register that smell for its brand,' says minister

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Waheed Abbas

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Published: Wed 7 Feb 2024, 6:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 7 Feb 2024, 11:06 PM

Companies and individuals in the UAE can register their trademark across various forms including sounds, scents, geographical indication marks and holograms, a senior official said on Wednesday.

While speaking at the launch of the new intellectual property (IP) system in Dubai on Wednesday, Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said the ministry is currently engaged in efforts to broaden the scope of trademark registration by including new categories of non-traditional trademarks.

Abdulla Al Saleh, under-secretary of foreign trade and industry at the Ministry of Economy, said the UAE replaced the old laws in 2021 with a whole new system for intellectual property rights.

“When we talk about protecting hologram, sound and smell IPR, these practices were not mentioned in the older version of the law. The new version of the law covers all of these practices. We created a registration system for this purpose. For example, if you enter a hotel and smell a perfume, the hotel chain can register that smell for its brand. Hence, no other brand can use it. Similarly, a music tone that we hear at the start of a video or movie in cinemas can also be registered as its intellectual property,” he said.

In 2023, there was a significant rise in the number of applications for trademark registration - a 9.6 per cent increase compared to the previous year. There was also a 2.9 per cent growth in the number of registered marks and a 29.5 per cent increase in the registration of intellectual works.

With regard to patents, the ministry received 3,415 patent applications in 2023, up 19.5 per cent from the previous year. The total number of registered patents in 2023 reached 5,108, recording a 13.7 per cent growth from 2022.

11 new initiatives

The new intellectual property system covers 11 integrated initiatives in various fields and applications of intellectual property:

- The Innovation Hub offers an online incubator platform for UAE creators. It provides technical guidance and assistance with the patent registration process.

- The Patent Hive initiative aims to increase the number of patents granted. It sets a goal of achieving 6,000 new patent registrations in the country by 2026.

- The Emirati ‘Fahes’ (examiner) initiative aims to enhance the skills and competitiveness of Emirati talents in the field of intellectual property.

- InnovLAB focuses on strengthening the capacities of innovation incubators and supporting them.

- InstaBlock addresses complaints concerning livestream copyright infringements.

- IP Sport increases the number of registered trademarks in the UAE’s sports sector.

- One Day TM expedites the issuance of a trademark registration certificate within a single business day.

- The IP Platform initiative will be developed to connect and integrate data from various government departments responsible for enforcing intellectual property rights

- ‘Hayyakom’ is launched in connection with the UAE's hosting of the INTA Meeting.

- The IP School programme will develop a comprehensive portfolio of training programmes for intellectual property, which will be endorsed by the World Intellectual Property Organization

- The virtual character ‘Aisha’ is introduced to raise awareness on intellectual property rights, engage with the public, and address their queries. This will be done through event participations or social media platforms.

The new system focuses on four main pillars – protecting intellectual property rights, minimising infringements and resolving related conflicts; supporting the growth of research and development-based projects; enhancing the services offered by the ministry for patents based on AI technology; and harnessing the results of intellectual property protection within the country and promote them internationally as well.

The minister added that this initiative is part of the UAE's aspiration to become a global hub for the new economy and the most prosperous society globally by 2031.

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