Legislative Insight into the intellectual property law for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, enacted a new Intellectual Property Law for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) on 21 November 2019 under DIFC Law No. 4 /2019 DIFC Intellectual Property Law. DIFC Law No. 4/2019 was introduced by the DIFC Authority and is intended to encourage the innovation economy within the DIFC by improving the protection and ease of enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Prior to the promulgation of DIFC Law No. 4/2019, intellectual property laws and regulations for the entire United Arab Emirates (UAE) (including the DIFC) operated at both the federal and local levels while disputes regarding intellectual property in the DIFC were dealt with within the civil law system operated by the UAE Federal or other local Courts.
DIFC Law No. 4/2019 has now changed the position within the DIFC by providing that the DIFC Commissioner of Intellectual Property and DIFC Courts, not the UAE Federal Courts, have jurisdiction over intellectual property disputes governed by DIFC Law No. 4/2019. The DIFC Courts and laws are modelled on the English common law system. By contrast, Intellectual property within the remainder of the UAE will continue to be governed by the UAE federal intellectual property laws and relevant disputes determined by the federal and local courts and so the civil law system.
The enactment of DIFC Law No. 4/2019 has created a new interface between not only the federal and DIFC intellectual property laws but also, in the event of a dispute which crosses over the two territories, between the common and civil law systems as they apply to
intellectual property matters before the courts.
This commentary proposes to analyse DIFC Law No. 4/2019, provide guidance on its terms and application and consider its impact on intellectual property assets both within the DIFC and the wider UAE.
The Legislative Insight was first published by LexisNexis in February 2020