Expert-Led Patent Protection Litigation in the United Arab Emirates

There may not be unified courts that relate to GCC patent matters but it does not mean that they are not handling patent-related lawsuits. In fact, they have tackled a number of interesting cases before.

A notable example is a case against a telecommunications corporation. An inventor sought the help of an industry expert to determine the status of his patent’s protection and whether it’s being infringed upon by the defendant. A second defendant was included in the lawsuit as they were the source of the technology in question. The disputed patent is related to a Mobile TV service.

The court appointed a set of experts to assist in the case but the claimant questioned the integrity of the team as one of the members have business relations with the second defendant. This appeal was later rejected as the court has the prerogative in its investigations.

The initial findings sided on the inventor and the court ordered the first defendant to pay the claimant a sum of AED 30 million for the infringement of the patent and to cease its use. Both parties appealed with the court rejecting the claimant’s request for a higher compensation as their objections are without merit.

The defendant’s appeal was heard, on the other hand, and a new panel of experts joined the case. The new report favored the defendants overruling the first one. It was determined that the system used by the first defendant was different from the claimant’s patent and that its purchase from the second defendant precedes the registration of the claimant’s patent.

If this case tickled your fancy, you might want to learn more about the UAE’s patent laws. For this, read the quick guide below.


United Arab Emirates Patent Laws

Patent laws fall under intellectual property laws. It helps and gives inventors the exclusive rights to sell their invention for 20 years. This timeframe may be different per country, but it usually expires after 20 years.

Fees are involved in maintaining the validity of the patent, and increases every year. This is to ensure any resulting fiscals benefit the country who granted the patent. Inventors are given the option to provide the license to any manufacturer, usually in exchange for a fee.

Patents are only applicable to anything man-made, and discoveries of natural origins cannot be given patents.

Two existing international patent-granting organizations currently exist: the PCT and the Paris Convention.

The UAE has patent laws outlined in their constitution and several federal laws. The UAE also joined the WIPO Convention in May 15, 1975, allowing inventors a way to have international recognition of their creations. This is mentioned in the Federal Decree No. 21 – Accession of the United Arab Emirates to the World Intellectual Property Organization.


Patent laws are indicated in the UAE Constitution.

Part VII: Distribution of Legislative, Executive and International Jurisdictions between the UAE and the Emirates

Article 121 states that “the UAE has exclusive jurisdiction in the following matters”, under which the protection of rights whether intellectual, technical or industrial is covered, in addition to copyrights, printing and publishing rights.

Article 121 was amended in January 2009, but the provisions mentioned in the previous paragraph remain unaffected.

Federal Law No. 17 of 2002 on the Regulation and Protection of Industrial Property for Patents and Industrial Designs (as amended by Federal Law No. 31 of October 1, 2006)

This is the main law concerning patents in the UAE. It discusses in detail how patents work and what it covers, who it’s concerned, when it is granted or how long it is valid, and other related topics.

For example, patents cannot be given to the following:

  • Plant, animals, biological methods of reproducing both. Exceptions are made for

microbiological methods;

  • Any medical or surgical procedures needed to treat and diagnose humans and animals.
  • Any scientific or mathematical principles, procedures or discoveries.
  • Rules to play games, guides and policies to conduct businesses.
  • Inventions that are of innately morally conflicting.

It also specifies that any industrial process and the products resulting from said process cannot be replicated by another manufacturer without permission of the original creator that was granted the patent.

The extent of the rights of a patent also does not cover the following:

  • Any activities of academic nature.
  • Patents used for transportation, as such parts or the engine of a vehicle, considering the need only to be of the vehicle and not the parts itself.

This law also states that joint owners of a patent cannot, individually, grant others the license as both parties or all parties concerned have to give consent prior.

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