Preventing others from unjustly, and without a warrant, commercializing that which you have poured your blood, sweat, and tears into, is one of the functions patents serve to protect innovators from and thereby to open doors to endless opportunities. Patents are one of the various mechanisms by which corporations or individuals may use to protect their efforts from personal or commercial exploitation. Patents seek to provide one exclusive right to their innovations for a limited period, however, navigating the process of obtaining a "patent" is both a lengthy and cumbersome process. Other distinguishable methods of protecting one’s intellectual property include copyright and trademarking. Patents provide innovators a legal recourse for any infringement of their rights.

1. I wish to protect my patent in the UAE, what are the laws governing patents in the UAE?

Federal Law Number 17 of 2002 (as amended by Federal Law Number 31 of 2006) (the Patent Law) regulates patent protection in the UAE.For more information on provisions contained in the Patent Law and amendments thereto, please access one of our bespoke guides on Intellectual Property within the Publications section.

Registration with the UAE Ministry of Economy (the MOE) Intellectual Property Protection Department (the IPPD) will allow you to protect your patent in the UAE.

3. What are the legal requirements for patent registration in Dubai or the UAE?

You can obtain a patent for an invention which is:

- Novel globally;

- Inventive, not obvious to another person skilled in the field of technology to which the invention belongs; and

- capable of industrial application (i.e. the invention shall be used and produced).

Further, your patent cannot be registered if it is one of the followings per article 6 (1) of the Patent Law:

- A variety of plant, animal species, or biological method of producing plants or animals (Exceptions shall be allowed for the microbiological methods and their products);

- A diagnostic method, treatment, or surgical operation required by humans and animals;

- a guide, rule or method followed to conduct business, perform mental activities, or play games; or

- an invention that may lead to violations of public order or morals.

4. Where can I obtain information on registered patent rights in UAE?

While a Patent Office exists, it is not possible to execute an official search of its patent records. However, STA's team would be able to assist you in conducting searches of published rights through the official intellectual property-related journals. Alternatively, you may seek assistance from any patent agents in the country.

5. So, what are the procedures for filing a patent application in the UAE?

Patent applications in the UAE should be made through the MOE, and be submitted in both the Arabic and English languages. Along with the submitted application, the following documents should be attached:

  1. If the applicant is a corporate body, an extract from the Commercial Register, or a certified copy of the Articles of Association or Incorporation, duly legalized at the UAE Embassy;
  2. A Deed of Assignment from the inventor(s), or a certified copy of the original assignment, duly legalized at the UAE Embassy;
  3. Specifications of the invention, including title, abstract, description, drawings, if any, and claims, in both Arabic and English.
  4. If the application will be filed on a priority basis, a certified copy of the priority document by a Notary Public.

All these documents shall be submitted to the MOE within ninety (90) days from the date of filing the patent application.

6. What follows after submission of my application?

The next step in the submission process is an examination of the application by the UAE Patent Office. Once you are notified of your application’s readiness for examination, a substantive examination fee must be paid. This takes up to two (2) years. The application will be considered regarding its novelty, inventiveness and industrial application. The application’s priority will be considered upon the applications examination. The examiner may not reject the application but may request amendments be made to the application. All amendments shall be made in both Arabic and English. Your application will be accepted or rejected once this examination procedure has been completed.

7. Under what circumstances can my application be rejected?

  1. Non-compliance with formalities;
  2. lack of novelty;
  3. obviousness;
  4. lack of industrial applicability;
  5. subject matter which is not patentable.

8. What if my application is rejected?

If your application is rejected for one of the above reasons, you may request a second examination of the application, with an attached argument to justify the reason for re-examination. Any such appeal should be made within sixty (60) days from the date of the first decision of the MOE.

9. What is the next step if my application is accepted?

Once your application is accepted, the next step will be to prepare for publication, for which publication fees will need to be paid. Upon payment, the decision to grant a patent will be published by the MOE in the Official Gazette of the UAE. If there is no opposition to the decision of MOE to grant the patent within sixty (60) days, the patent will be granted to you. The Patent Office will issue a Certificate for the Registration of the patent. The Certificate excludes others in the UAE from using your invention without prior authorization from you. Note that the entire process of obtaining a patent will take approximately eight (8) years.

10. Do I need to be in the UAE to file a patent application?

There is no requirement to be in the UAE in order to file a patent application. You can provide our professional intellectual property team with a Power of Attorney, duly legalized at the UAE Embassy, and we may file the application on your behalf

11. Can a patent application in the UAE give me protection for my patent in other countries?

Filing a patent application in the UAE will only provide protection within the UAE. If you want to protect your patent in other countries, it is required that you file the application in that particular country. However, as UAE is a signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty of 1970 (the PCT) and the WIPO Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883 (the Paris Convention), you may file a patent application in numerous countries. The PCT allows you to make the application in your home country first, then, within a year you can file the application by using the PCT mechanism in another country. Hence, an application filed in the UAE can be used as the basis for a PCT application and vice versa.

As the UAE is also a member of GCC, a single application can also include patent rights for other GCC members. However, it should be noted that specialist advice is recommended whenever and wherever you wish to file a patent application.

12. How long does the registration of patents last?

Once a patent has been granted, it will be valid for twenty (20) years from the date of filing, with a non-extendable term of protection. In order for the patent to be valid, annuity fees shall be paid each year starting from the date the application has been filed. The annuity fees are to be paid from the period of the 1 January to the 31 March of each year. Further, there is a grace period of three (3) months for annuity payment, with surcharge. However, if these fees are not paid within with aforementioned period, the patent application will have lapsed, with no exceptions. Further, please note that if the invention is not used by you within three (3) years from the date the patent has been granted, you must assign or license the right in favor of a third party.