There are several different kinds of legal disputes which you might encounter as you own any type of intellectual property. UAE Federal Trademark Law (No. 37) of 1992, which was then amended by Federal Law No. 8) of 2002 protects the consumers from confusion with respect to sources or origins of products and services.
Trademarks in UAE and internationally can end up to be significant assets of brands and businesses. This is because over time, customers identify the registered trademarks with companies. The branding choices of businesses make or break them, and trademarks help build brands.
What to Do if You Suspect Potential Trademark Infringement
As the owner of a trademark and a business, you should know how to maintain exclusivity of a mark. This goes beyond trademark registration in UAE and international trademark registration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Trademarks can be very costly to secure ownership to and even more costly to protect. Should a business lose protection for its trademark, it’s guaranteed a disaster. If you suspect trademark infringement occurring in UAE, here are the crucial things you should do:
Step 1: Find out if there are grounds for trademark infringement.
Before you dive into an expensive legal proceeding, determine if an issue truly exists. In order to do so, let us review a couple of basic facts. These are most of the points your trademark attorney in UAE will discuss with you.
- Trademark infringement only occurs when consumers are confused with dual use of a mark – the potentially infringing mark that is similar or exactly the same as yours should have been used on competing products and services. This is the reason why Delta faucets and Delta Airlines are currently in use in the market. As you redesign a bathroom, you’re not likely to buy an airline ticket to an exotic location by mistake. When a different company is making use of your registered trademark, you need to ask yourself if the customers are likely to be confused.
- Determine the location – an important factor that you should consider is the location. When someone opens a shop that has the same name as yours in a different place where you don’t operate, it is unlikely to be considered infringement. This is because customers won’t mmix up your business with one that’s far away. If your business is famous or gaining popularity in the entire country, then you can claim infringement. E-commerce has now diminished the geographic barriers as courts are starting to consider the online presence of businesses.
- Similarity with your trademark – this is another aspect of the trademark legislation that is often confused. Names of businesses can infringe even when they are not necessarily identical. Local and international courts often consider the “meaning, sound, and sight” when assessing if two trademarks are similar. Adding an ‘s’ just to make the name plural won’t be enough in distinguishing the name.
Step 2: Consider turning a potentially infringing use to a business partnership.
Not everyone who utilizes trademarks without securing proper permission from the owner is a counterfeiter. More often than not, fans of brands and companies attempt using trademarked logos outside the bounds of permissible use. However, they often just don’t know who exactly to contact in order to acquire proper licensing or even know how to properly negotiate a license. In situations like these, they present a great opportunity for considering entering into licensing agreements. This keeps the fan base of your company happy and also your wallet healthy.
Step 3: Take action.
If you are not interested in licensing and you believe another brand is using an identical or similar mark on competing goods/services plus customers are likely to be confused with the two names, then take legal action. Your trademark attorney in Dubai, UAE can also check if the other name has been used within the same geographic region, you’re operating in.
The very first step in taking legal action is, of course, contacting a trademark attorney in UAE. Your lawyer should specialize in the local trademark and intellectual property legislation. The professional will be the one to guide you throughout the legal process and through these next steps:
- Send a formal cease-and-desist letter – sending a letter onto an infringing party means you are notifying the other party of the alleged trademark infringement. On the letter, you can add a demand for ceasing continued use of your mark. Since every trademark case is unique, have an experienced trademark attorney in UAE draft or review the letter before sending.
- File a lawsuit – if you’re the trademark holder or owner and you are keen on challenging the mark of another business that’s similar or identical to yours, then have the trademark attorney in UAE file a lawsuit for trademark infringement. For an egregious case of cybersquatting, opt for filing an expedited complaint.
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