Application fees set to double in unexpected rate hike

United Arab Emirates

The UAE Ministry of Economy has announced a substantial increase in official fees for the registration of IP rights at the Trademark, Patent and Copyright Offices in the United Arab Emirates.

These increases in official fees are across the board, in that they apply to trademarks, patents, designs and copyright. However, they are likely to be particularly keenly felt by brand owners seeking to protect their rights in the United Arab Emirates.

The official fees charged by the UAE Trademark Office are already possibly the highest of any national trademark office globally, and these are now set to double. Currently, the official fees charged by the Trademark Office for the registration of a trademark are Dh6,000, which is equivalent to approximately $1,650. These fees are now set to increase to Dh12,000 (equivalent to approximately $3,300).

These fees are in addition to newspaper publication charges and to legalisation charges for powers of attorney, which are incurred by overseas applications and which typically amount to around $1,000. These charges are, of course, separate from trademark agents’ fees which, ironically, have remained largely static in the United Arab Emirates over the past 10 years.

The increase in official fees is due to come into effect on May 29 2015. This increase was announced in UAE Cabinet Decision No 9 of 2015, which sets out rate increases for a wide range of services provided by the UAE Ministry of Economy. These rate increases are not limited to the protection of IP rights, and they cover charges for matters such as establishing companies in the United Arab Emirates and registering commercial agency agreements.

The provisions of UAE Cabinet Decision No 9 of 2015 do not make any provision for applications which have already been filed by the UAE trademark, patent and copyright offices. Accordingly, it is expected that the increase will apply to any fees which fall due on or after May 29 2015.

Accordingly, for an existing trademark application which has already been filed, a registration fee of Dh5,000 ($1,360) will apply if this fee is paid prior to May 29 2015, whereas a fee of Dh10,000 ($2,720) will apply if this fee is paid on or after 29 May.

As a result, there may be an immediate rush to push forward with existing applications so that they can be completed before these rate increases apply. Also, where applications cannot be completed before May 29 2015, applicants may choose to allow their applications to lapse rather than face these increased charges.

The following table sets out a selection of the increases announced by the UAE Trademark Office:

ActionCurrent feeNew fee
Search fee Dh250 ($70)Dh500 ($140)

Application filing fee

Dh500 ($140)Dh1,000 ($280)
Publication feeDh500 ($140) Dh1,000 ($280)
Registration fee Dh5,000 ($1,360) Dh10,000 ($2,720)
Renewal filing fee Dh5,000 ($1,360)Dh10,000 ($2,720)

In addition, by way of example for the UAE Patent Office, the filing fee for a patent application filed by a business is to increase by over 250% from Dh790 ($220) to Dh2,000 ($560). Also, for the UAE Copyright Office, the recordal fee for an application filed by a business is to increase tenfold from Dh30 ($8) to Dh300 ($85).

With the official fees which apply in the United Arab Emirates already very high, these increases will undoubtedly lead to a fall off in application numbers. What remains to be seen is the overall impact of these increases on IP-owning businesses in the United Arab Emirates. With registered rights playing a key role in the IP lifecycle, the question is what effect the higher cost of obtaining registered rights will have on the creation, commercialisation and protection of IP rights in the United Arab Emirates.

Rob Deans and Saba Al Sultani, Clyde & Co, Dubai

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