Richard Gaugeler November 21 2022 Practical guide to trade secrets in the United Arab Emirates: outstanding issues Bird & Bird LLP | Intellectual Property - United Arab Emirates Richard Gaugeler Intellectual Property Definition of "trade secrets"Relief availableProving "damage"Lack of defences available for defendantsThis article is the third in a series outlining the practical aspects of trade secrets legislation and procedure in the United Arab Emirates.(1) In particular, this article sets out the issues with existing UAE trade secret legislation.Definition of "trade secrets"There is no statutory (federal) definition for "trade secrets" under UAE federal laws. As a result, a piecemeal approach across various laws makes it difficult for trade secret owners to determine the extent of available protection (for further details, see "Practical guide to trade secrets in the United Arab Emirates: relevant legislation").Relief availableIt is not possible for a trade secret owner to obtain an injunction to prevent infringing conduct occurring in future or to seek an account of profits. The relief available through the local UAE courts is limited to:the confiscation of infringing materials; orthe imposition of a fine.This gives little confidence to trade secret owners that the misappropriation will be handled swiftly, thus limiting the economic consequences from the misappropriation.Seeking damages as a relief requires a separate civil case to be filed for each occurrence. Often, criminal proceedings are commenced by ex-employers or entities when claiming a trade secret breach as the threat of potential imprisonment consequences can carry much weight.Proving "damage"Where a trade secret owner does file a civil case, it is often difficult to prove that the breach has caused "damage" within the UAE court system due to the limited value provided for intangible assets.Lack of defences available for defendantsIndividuals charged with an alleged misappropriation of trade secrets may face the issue that there is a lack of defences which permit the disclosure of trade secrets or confidential information in the United Arab Emirates – for example, for:the disclosure of illegal activities;reporting requirements;court proceedings; ordisclosure in the "public interest".For further information on this topic please contact Richard Gaugeler at Bird & Bird by telephone (+44 20 7415 6000) or email ([email protected]). The Bird & Bird website can be accessed at www.twobirds.com.Endnotes(1) For earlier articles in this series, see:"Practical guide to trade secrets in the United Arab Emirates: relevant legislation"; and"Practical guide to trade secrets in the United Arab Emirates: key provisions".For the first article in a similar series on trade secret law in Saudi Arabia, see "Practical guide to trade secrets in Saudi Arabia: relevant legislation".For the first article in a similar series on patent law in the United Arab Emirates, see "Practical guide to patents in the United Arab Emirates: relevant legislation".