Consumer Protection in The UAE: The Trademarks Act in Light of TRIPS Provisions

May 16, 2017


Published in: Journal of Intellectual Property Rights (JIPR)


/ Firas Massadeh / Fayez Al Nusair

This paper examines trade mark protection and its impact on the consumer in United Arab Emirates IP legislation, entitled Federal Trademarks Act No.37 of 1992. This act has been amended according to Federal Act No.8 of 2002 in the light of provision within the TRIPS Agreement of 1994, Section (2), Article 15. The concept of a trademark centres upon it's distinguish features, and this paper addresses the concept of deception in a misleading mark. We consider the criteria for determining that a mark is misleading or deceptive, how such misleading marks may affect the consumer, and the role of the consumer in defining deception. Further, we also address whether IP laws, mainly the Trademark Act, provide sufficient deterrent and safeguards, or if there is a critical need for additional support, such as Consumers Protection Act or Unfair Competition Act. We highlight the similarities, differences, advantages, and disadvantages of the provisions of the two documents, regarding whether these laws sufficiently cover consumers in law. There are elements lacking in the related laws concerning consumer protection, especially in the Federal Trademarks Act, concerning the time range and scope of protection provided in the Act. We consider if the Act covers the registration period, and if, after the registration period, the Act protects consumers against a mark that has lost its distinctiveness after registration. The IP-related legislation Federal Trademarks Act in particular shall be examined in depth for its flaws and the apparent lack of balance between the interests of trademark owners and that of consumers. We argue that there is an urgent need to amend the Federal Trademarks Law as it fails to balance the rights of trademark owners and those of the consumer, in favour of the owners.

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