Trademark infringement is defined as the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark. This use can be in connection with goods or services and may lead to confusion, deception, or a misunderstanding about the actual company a product or service came from. This includes using a mark on products or services that is identical or similar to a registered trademark without the trademark owner’s permission.
For example, you have a jewelry company with a trademarked name of Romantic Stones, and another company comes along and starts selling jewelry under the name Romantic Stones, you have a pretty clear-cut claim for trademark infringement on your hands.
If someone infringes on your trademarks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there are several steps you can take to protect your rights:
- Send a cease and desist letter: The first step is to send a letter to the infringer, asking them to stop using your trademark. The letter should explain your rights and the potential legal consequences of continuing to use your trademark without permission.
- File a complaint with the Ministry of Economy: If the infringer is using your registered trademark, you can file a complaint with the UAE Ministry of Economy. The Ministry will investigate the complaint and may take action to cancel the infringer’s registration.
- File a lawsuit: If the infringer refuses to stop using your trademark, you may need to file a lawsuit in court. A trademark infringement lawsuit can be expensive and time-consuming, but it may be necessary to protect your rights.
- Work with an attorney: It’s a good idea to work with an attorney who specializes in trademark law in the UAE to help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action and represent you in court if necessary.
Trademark infringement is illegal. Trademark infringement is the unauthorized and illegal use of a trademark or service mark when such use could lead to confusion between the original trademark and a mark that is used later.
It is important to file against Trademark infringement complaint in the UAE against the brand owner. It’s also worth noting that the UAE operates a “first to file” system for trademarks, meaning that the first person to file a trademark application is generally considered the owner of the trademark, so it’s important to register your trademarks in the UAE as early as possible. The new trademark law has introduced hefty penalties in case of infringement. The financial penalties being imposed have been increased in the new law as compared to the previous version. Under the virtue of Article 43 of trademark registration law, the infringer will also be sometimes imposed with the forced closure of the enterprise or with suspension activity. The suspension activity may range from 15 days to 6 months, depending on the decree of the dispute. The competent court also published in the Gazette, and the convicted party must carry out all the expenses. Articles 49 to 52 of the Trademark Law lays out the penalties that can be imposed and include amongst others, a hefty penalty of even up to 1 Million Dirhams can be imposed on a person infringing a registered trademark by any of the following acts:
Forging of a trademark that has been registered in the UAE or counterfeiting a registered trademark in a manner attempting to confuse the public in terms of the goods or the services of the original trademark, Using in bad faith the trademark registered and owned by others on any goods or services, Possessing of any tools or materials with the intention to use them to forge or counterfeit a registered or well-known trademark, Exporting or importing of goods bearing a forged or counterfeit trademark with full knowledge that the goods are forged or counterfeit products.
Trademark lawsuits are often very expensive, both in terms of attorney’s fees and court costs. If the decision favors the plaintiff, the court may require the defendant to pay for the plaintiff’s attorney and court costs. There are also several severe criminal and civil penalties that can result from a trademark violation, particularly if the infringer was using the mark to sell counterfeit items.
The higher penalties come into play as the UAE wants to put a complete stop to all such violations.
Any infringer whose actions of counterfeit, imitation, and forging of registered goodwill often end up demeaning the goodwill of the products and the enterprise. So, to recover the goodwill and to compensate for the damages incurred by the owner of the trademark, the competent Court will often award remedies, and they are the following:
- The competent court may order for permanent injunctions.
- The court will also award monetary damages to the affected party.
- The court will sometimes order to destroy completely or to deliver counterfeit goods.
- The ruling will be published by the competent Court.
- Sometimes the competent Court will order for recall order but not that frequently.
- The court will also make a declaration of Infringement and validity.
- The court will also have other kinds of remedies, including the closure of the business activity.
Trademark infringement poses a significant risk to businesses operating in the UAE. Take proactive steps to protect your trademark rights and prevent infringement. Conduct thorough searches, register your trademark, monitor the market, and take swift legal action when necessary. By prioritizing trademark protection, you can safeguard your brand’s identity, reputation, and market position in the UAE.
Dr. Manju Sharma
PhD in Medicinal patents