The protection of intellectual property rights and enforcement of associated regulations have great implications for creators in virtually all cultural fields. The Ministry of Economy is the responsible authority to register and protect intellectual property in the UAE. Intellectual property can be registered through the Ministry of Economy's website. The following laws are relevant for the protection of intellectual property in the UAE:
* Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 on Trademarks
* Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 on Copyrights and related rights
* Federal Law No. 31 of 2016, and Law No. 17 of 2002 on Regulation and Protection of Industrial Property of Patents, Industrial Drawings and Designs
The copyright law defines an intellectual work as "any original work in the areas of literature, arts or science, whatever its description, form of expression, significance or purpose." The following intellectual works are protected under copyrights law:
* Books, booklets, articles, and other literature
* Computer software and applications, databases and similar works
* Lectures, speeches, sermons and other works of similar nature
* Plays, musicals and pantomimes
* Musicals accompanied by dialogues and musicals which are not accompanied by dialogue
* Audio and video works or audio-visual works
* Architectural work and architectural plans and drawings
* Drawings, paintings, sculptures, etchings, lithography, screen printing, reliefs and intaglio prints and other similar works of fine art
* Photographic work and the likes
* Works of applied art and plastic art
* Charts, maps, plans, 3-D modelling for geographical and topographical applications and architectural designs etc.
* Derivative works, subject to the protection afforded to the work(s) upon which they are based. The protection shall extend to the title of the work, if created, as well as the creative concept devised for broadcast material.
Further, the UAE has signed the following international treaties and actively takes steps to implement the provisions in the Country:
* Agreement Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (joined in 1974; entry into force 1974)
* Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (joined in 2004; entry into force 2004)
* Rome Agreement (joined in 2004; entry into force 2005)
* WIPO Copyright Treaty (joined in 2004; entry into force 2004)
* WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (joined in 2005; entry into force 2005)
* Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (joined in 2014; entry into force 2020)
* Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired Persons (joined in 2014; entry into force 2016)
The Ministry of Economy works in partnership with other organizations in the country to enforce regulations on intellectual property to protect cultural products and services, some examples include:
* Signing a memorandum of understanding with the National Media Council (now merged with Ministry of Culture and Youth) for cooperation and coordination in the field of combating piracy
* Signing memoranda of understanding with local economic departments in the field of combating piracy
* Coordination with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to block websites that infringe copyright law
Enforcement efforts in the UAE are based on legal principles and international standards. Among the measures to enable the protection of intellectual property is the formation of inspection teams on pirated and counterfeit materials. The inspection teams regularly check on institutions that sell intellectual property materials and takes appropriate measures when receiving any complaints of irregularities in the market. Border measures are also a vital area for effective enforcement of intellectual property laws and legislations. Customs authorities in the UAE take swift action against counterfeit goods from importing, exporting, or crossing state borders, which contribute to advancing the implementation of intellectual property laws and preventing violations affecting the economy.
Media-licensed companies that trade intellectual works are obliged to register all works that they trade in order to ensure their eligibility to trade these works. The authors of works and rights holders are protected by law if their rights are violated within the country.
In order to unify efforts aimed at combating commercial fraud, the National Committee for Combating Commercial Fraud has been established in implementation of Article (5) of the Commercial Fraud Law, and the committee includes representatives of the following entities: Ministry of Economy, Federal Customs Authority, Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology, Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, Department of Economic Development in Dubai, Department of Economic Development in Sharjah, Department of Economic Development in Ras Al Khaimah, Department of Economic Development in Umm Al Quwain, Department of Economic Development in Ajman, Fujairah Municipality.
The outcome of partnerships between the Federal Customs Authority and the Local Customs Departments include:
* Establishing an IPR cases database, allowing customs centers to follow up on cases.
* Establishing a UAE registered trademarks database (Brands Recording e-System).
* Organizing press conferences on combating fraud and counterfeit.
* Hosting training and awareness workshops on IPR and distinction between authentic and counterfeit products for customs inspectors, government ministries and departments and GCC states representatives in this field.
* Delivering introductory presentations to public prosecutors, journalists, security officers, among other, about the meaning of IPR and customs processes in this regard.
* Creating introductory platforms in the commercial center with a view to raising awareness of intellectual property
* Distributing brochures and educational awareness materials to schools on World Property Day
* Implementing awareness raising campaigns on the radio and in newspapers
Furthermore, Pirated and Counterfeit Inspection Teams have conducted many inspections rounds as detailed below:
* Consumer protection: 14,253 (2017), 10,418 (2018), 8,441 (2019)
* Commercial fraud: 17,817 (2017), 14,955 (2018), 14,068 (2019)
* Trade-marks: 14,657 (2017), 5,006 (2018), 10,504 (2019)
* Commercial agencies: 69 (2017), 901 (2018), 73 (2019)
* Copyrights : 64 (2017), 14 (2018), 22 (2019)
* Plants inspections: 208 (2017), 136 (2018), 107 (2019)
In relation to the international treaties signed by the UAE, the following plans are in place to be implemented during the next reporting period:
* Update the IP law in line with the requirements of the Marrakesh Agreement
* Activate the Marrakesh Agreement by signing memoranda of understanding