Counterfeit and genuine Lipton tea at the Anti-Commercial Counterfeiting Exhibition organised by the Department of Planning & Economy at Abu Dhabi Mall. Philip Cheung / The National
Counterfeit and genuine Lipton tea at the Anti-Commercial Counterfeiting Exhibition organised by the Department of Planning & Economy at Abu Dhabi Mall. Philip Cheung / The National

UAE law gets tough on counterfeiting



A new law aimed at combating counterfeit goods and other commercial fraud has just passed through the UAE's Federal National Council. It is expected to become law in the coming months, although it may be further amended at the ministerial level before its implementation.
At present, brand owners whose products are being copied have a number of options available to them, including:
• Administrative action under Federal Law No 4 of 1979 (also known as the Commercial Fraud Law)
• A claim for trademark infringement (typically criminal prosecution followed by civil enforcement)
• Border measures through the local customs authorities.
It is envisaged that the new law will replace the Commercial Fraud Law, and is intended to enhance the existing intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement mechanism. Specifically, the new law seeks to impose tougher penalties on counterfeiters. The Commercial Fraud Law has been criticised by IPR owners because the financial penalties it imposes are not considered to be a sufficient deterrent.
The new law contains a number of welcome measures that will enhance brand owners' rights. For example, it will now be an offence to possess counterfeits, even where the IPR holder is unable to prove that the counterfeiter intends to sell them. It can sometimes be difficult to establish evidence of the counterfeiters' intent, and previous claims have failed on these grounds. The new law also establishes a single cross-Emirates body that is responsible for monitoring compliance with the law. Currently, each emirate operates its own enforcement authority, which can lead to duplication of costs and effort.
Perhaps the most welcome aspect of the new law is the harsher penalty regime. The maximum penalty under the new law is imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of as much as Dh1 million. The new law reserves the maximum penalties for pharmaceutical and food products, but even those who deal in counterfeit goods outside of these categories may be fined up to Dh250,000. The authorities are also empowered to close stores that sell counterfeit goods, and repeat offenders may have their trade licences cancelled.
Several aspects of the new law require further clarification, which may be made before implementation. For example, the new law requires importers of counterfeits to pay for the costs of their destruction or disposal. However, it is not clear how the law will be enforced if the importer cannot be identified or traced, or is based outside of the UAE without assets in the jurisdiction.
Similarly, offenders will be required to disclose all information relating to the consignment of counterfeits to the authorities. This is a positive development, because it will enable other members of the supply chain to be identified. Along with the increased penalties, it is also likely to act as a deterrent. However, the new law does not make it clear whether this information will also be made available to the IPR owner. For example, it may include details of the manufacturer and retailers who had agreed to purchase counterfeit goods, many of whom may be based outside the UAE. It is likely to be in the interests of the IPR owner to pursue these leads and prevent further infringements, whereas the authorities will not necessarily have the jurisdiction (or the resources) to do so.
Finally, there are several aspects of the law that appear inconsistent with the desire to enhance the IPR enforcement system (and, by extension, the rights of a brand owner in the UAE). First, the law as presently drafted does not allow action to be taken against "lookalike" products. To be deemed counterfeit, the products must bear an "identical" trademark, and the new law does not extend to any other type of IPR. In other words, if a product was made to a well-known design, but did not bear the designer's name or mark, the counterfeiter may avoid penalty. The Commercial Fraud Law also applied to lookalike goods, and this appears to be a significant limitation of the new law.
In addition, under the new law authorities are permitted to return counterfeit products to their country of origin, meaning that they may end up back on the market. This could deny the IPR owner the opportunity to prevent the products from being sold, as there is no guarantee that they would be identified as counterfeit if the products were re-exported.
This provision would also appear to conflict with the UAE's obligations under the Trips agreement (formally known as the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, it permits the re-export of counterfeit goods only in exceptional circumstances). Allowing the authorities to reject the goods will simply displace the problem to another jurisdiction, and does little to help brand owners remove counterfeit products from the supply chain.
The new draft law is good news for brand owners who have long complained that the penalties imposed for counterfeiting in the UAE do not act as a serious deterrent. It is also to be hoped that certain aspects of the law – most notably the provisions that allow counterfeits to be re-exported – will be re-examined, to ensure that the new draft law has sufficient teeth to reassure IPR owners that the new law will be used to clamp down on counterfeiting, and not simply to displace the problem outside the UAE.
Katie Withers is a senior legal consultant in DLA Piper's Middle East intellectual property and technology practice

MATCH INFO

UAE Division 1

Abu Dhabi Harlequins 12-24 Abu Dhabi Saracens

The specs: Taycan Turbo GT

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 1,108hp
Torque: 1,340Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic (front axle); two-speed transmission (rear axle)
Touring range: 488-560km
Price: From Dh928,400
On sale: Orders open

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The biog

Age: 30

Position: Senior lab superintendent at Emirates Global Aluminium

Education: Bachelor of science in chemical engineering, post graduate degree in light metal reduction technology

Favourite part of job: The challenge, because it is challenging

Favourite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Gandi

Day 1, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Dimuth Karunaratne had batted with plenty of pluck, and no little skill, in getting to within seven runs of a first-day century. Then, while he ran what he thought was a comfortable single to mid-on, his batting partner Dinesh Chandimal opted to stay at home. The opener was run out by the length of the pitch.

Stat of the day – 1 One six was hit on Day 1. The boundary was only breached 18 times in total over the course of the 90 overs. When it did arrive, the lone six was a thing of beauty, as Niroshan Dickwella effortlessly clipped Mohammed Amir over the square-leg boundary.

The verdict Three wickets down at lunch, on a featherbed wicket having won the toss, and Sri Lanka’s fragile confidence must have been waning. Then Karunaratne and Chandimal's alliance of precisely 100 gave them a foothold in the match. Dickwella’s free-spirited strokeplay meant the Sri Lankans were handily placed at 227-4 at the close.

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Company profile

Name: Oulo.com

Founder: Kamal Nazha

Based: Dubai

Founded: 2020

Number of employees: 5

Sector: Technology

Funding: $450,000

Directed: Smeep Kang
Produced: Soham Rockstar Entertainment; SKE Production
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Jimmy Sheirgill, Sunny Singh, Omkar Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma
Rating: Two out of five stars 

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

World Cup warm up matches

May 24 Pakistan v Afghanistan, Bristol; Sri Lanka v South Africa, Cardiff

May 25 England v Australia, Southampton; India v New Zealand, The Oval

May 26 South Africa v West Indies, Bristol; Pakistan v Bangladesh, Cardiff

May 27 Australia v Sri Lanka, Southampton; England v Afghanistan, The Oval

May 28 West Indies v New Zealand, Bristol; Bangladesh v India, Cardiff

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Thursday (All UAE kick-off times)

Sevilla v Real Betis (midnight)

Friday

Granada v Real Betis (9.30pm)

Valencia v Levante (midnight)

Saturday

Espanyol v Alaves (4pm)

Celta Vigo v Villarreal (7pm)

Leganes v Real Valladolid (9.30pm)

Mallorca v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday

Atletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (4pm)

Real Madrid v Eibar (9.30pm)

Real Sociedad v Osasuna (midnight)

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

AT A GLANCE

Windfall
An “energy profits levy” to raise about £5 billion in a year. The temporary one-off tax will hit oil and gas firms by 25 per cent on extraordinary profits. An 80 per cent investment allowance should calm Conservative nerves that the move will dent North Sea firms’ investment to save them 91p for every £1 they spend.
A universal grant
Energy bills discount, which was effectively a £200 loan, has doubled to a £400 discount on bills for all households from October that will not need to be paid back.
Targeted measures
More than eight million of the lowest income households will receive a £650 one-off payment. It will apply to households on Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Pension Credit and legacy benefits.
Separate one-off payments of £300 will go to pensioners and £150 for those receiving disability benefits.

The figures behind the event

1) More than 300 in-house cleaning crew

2) 165 staff assigned to sanitise public areas throughout the show

3) 1,000+ social distancing stickers

4) 809 hand sanitiser dispensers placed throughout the venue

Brief scores:

Toss: Sindhis, elected to field first

Kerala Knights 103-7 (10 ov)

Parnell 59 not out; Tambe 5-15

Sindhis 104-1 (7.4 ov)

Watson 50 not out, Devcich 49

Structural weaknesses facing Israel economy

1. Labour productivity is lower than the average of the developed economies, particularly in the non-tradable industries.
2. The low level of basic skills among workers and the high level of inequality between those with various skills.
3. Low employment rates, particularly among Arab women and Ultra-Othodox Jewish men.
4. A lack of basic knowledge required for integration into the labour force, due to the lack of core curriculum studies in schools for Ultra-Othodox Jews.
5. A need to upgrade and expand physical infrastructure, particularly mass transit infrastructure.
6. The poverty rate at more than double the OECD average.
7. Population growth of about 2 per cent per year, compared to 0.6 per cent OECD average posing challenge for fiscal policy and underpinning pressure on education, health care, welfare housing and physical infrastructure, which will increase in the coming years.

MATCH INFO

Barcelona 4 (Suarez 27', Vidal 32', Dembele 35', Messi 78')

Sevilla 0

Red cards: Ronald Araujo, Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Alaan
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founders: Parthi Duraisamy and Karun Kurien
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $7 million raised in total — $2.5 million in a seed round and $4.5 million in a pre-series A round


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