DIFC enacts new intellectual property (IP) law


DIFC has enacted a new law that aims to improve the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The new Intellectual Property Law (Law No. 4 of 2019) will enable DIFC based companies to secure their IP rights and create a safe environment for creativity and innovation. The new law covers patents, utility certificates, industrial designs and drawings, copyright, trademarks, trade names and trade secrets in line with international treaties and best practices.

Some of the key aspects of the law include:

  1. Recognition of UAE registered IP rights in DIFC, including recognition of registered patents, utility certificates, industrial designs and drawings, copyrights, trademarks, trade names and trade secrets.
  2. Clarification on the legal position concerning the ownership of copyright and inventions created by employees.
  3. Creation of the office of the Commissioner of Intellectual Property who is responsible for the administering the law, resolving disputes and imposing fines.
  4. Guidance on the extent of jurisdiction for the Commissioner of IP and the DIFC courts in infringement cases. The Commissioner of IP has jurisdiction over the implementation and execution of the DIFC IP Law and any legislation issued with respect to administrative penalties. The IP Commissioner’s decisions can be appealed at DIFC Courts.
  5. Reversal of burden of proof in patent infringement cases. The burden of proof in infringement cases has been reversed to fall on the infringing party who must prove that the product was not manufactured using a patented process.
  6. Increased fines of between US$ 5,000 and US$ 40,000 for IP rights infringement.

The new regulations align closely with international treaties, such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

This is part of an ongoing effort by DIFC to become an internationally recognised centre of excellence, and as evidenced by the recent Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) which ranked DIFC as 8th in the world, initiatives such as this are increasing the attractiveness of setting up in DIFC. Please contact us for more details on the new regulations and how they could benefit you.