United Arab Emirates: Trademark Law And The Requirement Of Protection Of ‘Geographical Indication' In The UAE

Last Updated: 27 February 2019
Article by STA Law Firm
Most Read Contributor in United Arab Emirates, August 2019

"There is certainly no kind of property, in the nature of things, so much his own, as the works which a person originates from his own creative imagination: And when he has spent great part of his life in study, wasted his time, his fortune & perhaps his health in improving his knowledge & correcting his taste, it is a principle of natural justice that he should be entitled to the profits arising from the sale of his works as a compensation for his labor in producing them, & his risk of reputation in offering them to the public." – Joel Barlow

Intellectual Property Rights are a set of proprietary rights that are granted to the Individuals over their creation. The holder or owners of these set of rights are entitled to various exclusive privileges and immunities. An example of intellectual property rights includes the right which is available to a musician or an author of a publication from his work being infringed or violated. These set of rights differ and vary from country to country. Intellectual property applies to the various creations of an individual such as inventions, artistic works, literary works, designs, etc.

However, in the case of a copyright, the idea must be expressed in a material form, in order, to be entitled to the benefits of protection. Intellectual property as a right was recognized for the first time in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886). Similar to patent and trademark, 'Geographical Indication' is also an essential type of intellectual property right.

This article will analyze the need for the protection of 'Geographical Indication', as well as, its National and International obligations within the UAE:

Defining 'Geographical Indication'

'Geographical indication', being a type of intellectual property right, is an important aspect of intellectual property. The term 'Geographical Indication' refers to a sign which has a specific geographical origin. Such a sign, when used on the goods, indicate that the goods possess a certain quality, reputation, and such other characteristic attributes which belongs to their place of origin.

In order for a 'GI' to be applicable to a particular product, the sign affixed to the product must indicate its place of origin thereby indicating its unique quality. 'Geographical Indication' as a right is covered under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883), which is administered by the WIPO and it is also covered under the TRIPS agreement. Under the WIPO, the Standing Committee (SCT) on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications is a forum which discusses and develops policies and laws relating to Geographical Indications.

The TRIPS Agreement defines geographical indication as "indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region, or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin."

The concept of Geographical Indication:

Earlier the concept of "Geographical Indication" was mainly used to denote agricultural products belonging to a particular region, since various factors such as soil and climate of the region would make an impact on the quality of the product. However, with globalization and development, now these indications are used on a wide range of products, whether manufactured or natural; and they convey assurance of being unique and having a particular quality which is attributable to a geographical locality, region, or a particular country. The indication of the origin may relate to a town, as well as, for example, Swiss Chocolates, Pinggu Peaches, etc.

The philosophy behind Geographical Indication:

The 'Geographical Indication' protection is recognized as an intellectual property right, which is accessible to the consumer to use such intellectual property and to restrict others from making any similar use of such property. Since 'Geographical Indication' is a sign which certifies that the product possesses certain qualities and it is necessary to protect them. The core idea behind the development of this concept was to protect an individual from the violation of his privacy and the form of his expression. Therefore, if the concept of 'Geographical Indication' is not protected, it would definitely violate the principles of natural justice.

Need for protection of Geographical Indication:

Geographical Indications denote the quality, value, and peculiarity which a particular product possesses and therefore, they have a certain amount of reputation affixed to it. This kind of reputation is based or dependent upon the place of the product's origin and the value attached to it; therefore, if ample protection is not provided, the product maybe misrepresented which may cause confusion to the general public or to the consumer who violates the principles of protection of Intellectual property rights. Use of indications by persons who are not authorized to use it deceives the consumers, and moreover, it affects the reputation of the genuine product.

Example: As we all know 'Darjeeling Tea' is world renowned and has a certain characteristic attribute attached to it. It possesses such reputation owing to its geographical origin. Therefore, if a person produces a product in the name of 'Darjeeling Tea' without it being produced in the Darjeeling gardens, it would have a deleterious effect on its consumers, since it is purchased with a genuine trust and confidence. Thus the 'GI' right grants a monopoly right to the owner from his product being infringed. Another example is that of the Comté Cheese, for the production of which, it is necessary that the milk should be from the French Simmental breeds.

Some of the benefits of the grant of 'Geographical Indication' are the following:

  • Entitled to take action against violation or infringement of the commodity or goods and services.
  • Increase in brand value.
  • Promotes economic prosperity.

Since the application of 'Geographical Indication' has been widely recognized throughout the world, they stand on an equal footing with other intellectual property rights such as trademark and copyrights. The growth of technological advancement has also resulted in an increase in the manufacturing process and new methods of production. Therefore, the need for the protection of geographical indication is of utmost importance.

Hindrance for the protection of Geographical Indication:

  • If the Commodity/product to be protected is generic in character, in such cases, the protection may not be granted. In other words, if the sign affixed to the product is a common name for the same kind of products then 'GI' may not be granted.
  • If the 'GI' which is to be granted is already in existence, in such cases protection may not be granted.

Article 22 of the TRIPs Agreement lays down the rule that, all the member states must provide their own set of national laws for the protection of Geographical Indication. Further, the Articles 23 and 24 of the TRIPs Agreement also deals with the protection of 'Geographical Indication.' Broadly speaking, though several international conventions have laid down the rules relating to the protection of Geographical Indication, it is the concerned Nation's responsibility to provide for and implement its own set of rules and regulations for the protection of Geographical Indication. The UAE, being a member of the TRIPS Agreement, WTO, and WIPO since April 10, 1996, is devoted to complying with the provisions which regulate the geographical indications and various other aspects of the Intellectual Property Laws. As a result, apart from being a member and conforming to several International Conventions, the UAE has also adopted various national legislation to enforce intellectual property laws in the UAE, such as the following:

Main Legislations-

  • Federal Law Number 17 of 2009 on the Protection of New Plant Varieties(2010)
  • Federal Law Number 31 of 2006 pertaining to the Industrial Regulation and Protection of Patents, Industrial Drawings, and Designs (2002).
  • Federal Law Number 7 of 2002 concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights (2002).
  • Federal Law Number 37 of 1992 on Trademarks (as amended by Law No.19 of 2000 and Law Number 8 of 2002).

Laws relating to Intellectual Property-

  • Federal Decree Law Number 5 of 2012 on Combating Cybercrimes (2012).
  • Federal Law Number 7 of 2008 on the National Center for Documentation and Research (2008).
  • Federal Law Number 6 of 2008 on Establishing a National Council for Tourism and Antiquities (2008).
  • Federal Law by Decree Number 3 of 2003 regarding the Organization of Telecommunications Sector (as amended) (2008).
  • Federal Decree Number 85 of 2007 on the Common Customs Law for the Arab States of the Gulf (2007).
  • Federal Law Number 24 of 2006 concerning Consumer Protection (2006).
  • Federal Law Number 1 of 2006 on Electronic Commerce and Transactions (2006).
  • Common Customs Law of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of 2003, with its Rules of Implementation and Explanatory Notes (2003).
  • Federal Law by Decree Number 3 of 2003 on Telecom Law (2003).
  • Law Number 18 of 1993 on Commercial Transactions (1993).
  • Law Number 1 of 1992 of the Emirate of Sharjah on Antiquities (1992).
  • Law Number 8 of 1984 on Commercial Companies, as amended (1984).
  • Federal Judicial Authority Law Number 3 of 1983 (1983).
  • Federal Law Number 15 of 1980 on the Press and Publication (1980).
  • Federal Law Number 8 of 1980 on Regulation of Labour Relation (1980).
  • Law Number 5 of 1973 on Commercial Register (1973).

The Federal Law Number 8 of 2002, as mentioned above, provides provisions for the protection of Geographical Indication and it states as the following:

Article (3) - The following shall not be registered as trademarks or as component elements thereof-

(6) "Geographical names and data when they would create uncertainty as to the origin or source of the goods, the products or the services."

(8) "Marks which are likely to deceive the public or which contain false indications as to the origin or source of the products or the services or as to its characteristics, as well as Marks containing an indication of a fictitious, falsified or counterfeit trade name."

Therefore, it evident from the above set of legislation that the UAE not only grants protection to patents, copyrights, plant varieties, and industrial designs but also advances protection to 'Geographical Indications' as well. The ambit of the Federal Law No.8 of 2002 is wide, and it gives protection not only to a particular commodity but also includes a wide range of goods and services. Further, Geographical Indications are not only protected through National legislation and International agreements but also through concepts which prevent unfair competitions.


Therefore, the concept of 'Geographical Indication' is an instrument for linking the quality of a commodity and its geographical origin. It is pertinent to note that with the current globalization and trade liberalization, Geographical Indication has become a subject matter of great significance. Further, the UAE is able to fully reap the advantages of geographical indications and can grant adequate protection to various goods and commodities from infringement.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions