UAE introduces programme to bolster intellectual property

IP Ecosystem programme will help creators protect their concepts and attract more foreign direct investment to country

Abdulla bin Touq, UAE Minister of Economy, delivering a keynote during the launch of the IP Ecosystem in Dubai on Wednesday. Photo: Ministry of Economy
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The Ministry of Economy has introduced a programme aimed at better protecting intellectual property, amid a surge in trademark registrations in the UAE.

The IP Ecosystem initiative will not only help inventors and innovators protect their creations, but will also become a “cornerstone” of growth by attracting more foreign direct investment, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said on Wednesday.

The programme is also aligned with the UAE's goal to become a global hub for the new economy and the most prosperous society globally by 2031, Mr bin Touq said in Dubai at the launch ceremony.

“Intellectual property plays a key role … [it] supports business development, fosters innovation and enhances the overall market value of businesses,” the minister said.

“This initiative aims to boost innovation and creativity in the country, fostering a competitive and conducive environment … [which] empowers talented nationals to be able to leverage intellectual property applications effectively.”

The IP Ecosystem programme is anchored by 11 initiatives, covering key economic and creative sectors of the UAE, including support for new technologies as well as student awareness programmes.

The strengthening of protections offered under IP laws, and supporting the growth of research and development-based projects are among pillars of the new programme.

It also aims to enhance services offered by the ministry, especially on artificial intelligence, to promote them as national products that can be marketed internationally.

The new system will “significantly boost revenues of the UAE’s intellectual property sector by facilitating the export of innovative, cutting-edge national products and services based on innovation and modern technologies to other international markets”, Mr bin Touq said.

“It serves as a milestone in our efforts to accelerate the UAE’s transition to a knowledge-based economy, foster innovation and establish a national economic environment that supports intellectual property, innovation and patents.”

Intellectual property is a vital component of an economy as it protects ideas and concepts created by individuals and businesses, which is key to the development of smaller businesses that in turn drive expansion of the broader economic sectors.

This protection also confirms the authenticity of their products, which also help them guard against those attempting to steal or infringe on their concepts.

The UAE, which has prioritised growth of creators and innovators as part of its new economy agenda, has seen a significant growth in trademark registrations.

In 2023, the number of applications for trademark registrations rose nearly 10 per cent year-on-year, Ministry of Economy data showed.

The number of registered trademarks also grew almost 3 per cent, while registrations for intellectual works soared 29.5 per cent, the ministry said.

Patent applications, meanwhile, surged 19.5 per cent annually to 3,415 last year, while the total number of registered patents hit 5,108, a 13.7 per cent increase from 2022, it said.

“The UAE recognises the importance of putting in place an integrated legislative framework that promotes and encourages creativity, innovation and comprehensive IP protection for talented individuals, skilled professionals, creators, innovators and entrepreneurs in the country,” Mr bin Touq said.

The UAE's legislative and policy steps over the past several years have resulted in significant expansion in the new economy sectors, as more individuals and companies continue to tap into the country's growth potential.

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The number of business licences linked to creative activities registered in the country reached 932,000 by the end of the first half of 2023, the ministry reported in November.

Data and indicators “validate the progressive expansion of the UAE’s intellectual property sector”, Mr bin Touq said.

The ministry is also currently co-ordinating with relevant organisations and authorities to broaden the scope of trademark registration by including new categories of trademarks, he said.

These non-traditional trademarks will cover innovations including sounds, scents, geographical indication marks and holograms, the minister said.

Updated: February 07, 2024, 1:37 PM