Dubai Customs’ efforts to protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights has set the path for new UAE achievements in the fight against counterfeiting and IP infringement. In its Annual Special Report on Intellectual Property Protection, The United States Trade Representative (USTR), a US government body, decided to remove the UAE from the Watch List for IP protection (IPP) and enforcement. The UAE is listed in the report as one of the countries and trading partners of the United States that take reasonable and practical efforts to safeguard and enforce intellectual property rights following international IP standards and best practices. The UAE’s status on the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Report for 2021 was upgraded due to measures to combat the selling of counterfeit goods at Ajman China Mall and enhanced efforts by Dubai Customs to restrict the entry of counterfeit items.
What is USTR Report on IPR?
The Special 301 USTR Report on international Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection and enforcement are published annually by the United States Trade Representatives. The 301 Special Report represents the concerns of the US government when addressing different worldwide challenges of intellectual property. There are two lists in each Special 301 USTR report: the Priority Watch List and the Watch List. These lists include nations with inadequate or insufficient IPR protection and enforcement procedures, according to the US.
Priority Watch List countries endure insufficient protection of their intellectual property rights or refuse the access of U.S. inventors and developers who rely on protection of their IP rights to the market. On the other hand, Watch list countries do not undertake to solve the underlying issues of intellectual property rights.
What USTR Reported about UAE Effort on IPP?
According to the USTR’s newest report on global IP compliance, the UAE achieved progress on long-standing IP enforcement problems, thanks to several IP enforcement actions implemented by numerous local government and federal entities. The study praised Dubai Customs for its “increased efforts” in intellectual property enforcement and awareness throughout Dubai, resulting in the UAE being removed from the Watch List of less compliant nations with IP rights protection.
What makes UAE IP Enforcement System strong?
The UAE boasts the region’s best advanced intellectual property enforcement system and continually tries to enhance and maintain appropriate and effective IP rights protection. Authorities have deployed new technology and undertaken ongoing awareness efforts to aid in the battle against intellectual property rights breaches. These initiatives have substantially improved anti-counterfeiting enforcement through the Emirates level’s administrative agencies, which has become the most effective approach. The achievement mentioned above is part of UAE Vision 2021, which aims to boost economic competitiveness and innovation.
Dubai Customs efforts to strengthen IP Rights
- Dubai Customs has formed a dedicated IP Unit :
- to improve the protection of IP rights and guarantee compliance with UAE IP legislation and the GCC’s Common Customs Law,
- to safeguard consumers, combat counterfeit commerce and, to retain Dubai’s reputation for quality and service.
- The IP Unit has developed a trademark recorded system enabling mark owners to register their trademark certificates obtained in the UAE, allowing the unit to delay the clearance of any products suspected of infringing on trademark rights on its initiative.
- The IP Unit will apply the requirements of the new recordals processes to the suspension and detention of such products. It will immediately notify the aggrieved rights holder of the date of the detention and any other necessary information. After that, the rights holder or its legal agent can initiate an action with the IP Unit to seize the suspected counterfeit items. So far, the record-keeping method has shown to be quite effective.
Why protect Intellectual Property Rights?
Protecting intellectual property rights is a critical competitive advantage that allows:
- The UAE’s national economy will grow and attract greater commerce by creating a secure environment for foreign firms and merchants.
- It assists foreign markets in protecting their trademarks and commercial assets against counterfeit and pirated items.
- IP protection is also beneficial for promoting creativity and innovation since it improves a company’s capacity to earn money and capitalize on new goods and innovations brought to the market.
Active engagement of Dubai Custom in Protecting IP
Dubai Customs has been extensively involved in combating the illicit trade of counterfeits in full coordination with the US and other international diplomatic authorities. The protection of intellectual property rights has always been a priority for Dubai Customs. Dubai Custom established the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) department in 2005, the first of its kind at the level of customs authorities in the Middle East, intending to improve coordination among various customs units and centers in the area of intellectual property rights enforcement and protection.
The removal of the UAE from the US IP watchlist demonstrates the country’s success in combating counterfeiting. Dubai Customs maintains constant communication with US and foreign diplomatic missions to learn about their intellectual property protection and enforcement needs and requirements to protect the economic interests of their fellow national enterprises. Dubai Custom work with trademark owners and rights holders to prevent any attempts to transport counterfeit goods that infringe on their intellectual property rights following relevant international regulations. The UAE government’s goal is to continue to enhance and enforce strict IPP rights across the country. The process of developing and commercializing intellectual property enhances society and promotes economic progress.
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