Ministry of Economy reviews the new law on Industrial Property & Patents
New legislation comes with fundamental amendments aimed at enhancing investor confidence & stimulating innovation in vital sectors
Dubai, 11 January 2022
The Ministry of Economy (MoE) organized a media briefing on Federal Law No. 11 of 2021 on Industrial Property and Patents, which forms part of the largest legislative amendments in the UAE’s history that encompasses 50 federal laws, including the drafting of new legislation and amendments to the existing ones. This major economic milestone coincides with the country’s golden jubilee celebrations and strengthens the fundamentals of the UAE’s economic legislation, making it more competitive, flexible, open and able to attract global investments and successful companies in various sectors, especially in the new and future sectors.
H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, affirmed that the UAE has achieved regional leadership in various fields related to innovation and intellectual property, thanks to the vision and support of its wise leadership. He noted that the UAE was ranked first in the Arab world for the sixth consecutive year by the Global Innovation Index 2021 owing to its success in developing an integrated system for intellectual property applications and services. Today, the country has put in place supportive and stimulating policies to enhance the role of intellectual property in general and industrial property and patents in particular as they are among the main drivers of economic recovery and progress in various sectors, noted the Minister. He added that these are essential pillars in sustainable economic and social development efforts based on knowledge, innovation and creativity in the country.
In this context, H.E. Al Falasi added: “The new industrial property law is one of the most important initiatives that the Ministry of Economy and its partners have developed in order to drive growth based on knowledge and innovation and support entrepreneurship. These efforts fall in line with the vision, principles and projects launched by the UAE government to establish a new phase of growth, both domestically and globally. This objective will be achieved by accelerating the transformation towards a new, more flexible and sustainable knowledge-based economic model that keeps pace with the latest economic trends in which innovation, technology, research and development, national competencies, inventors, talents and entrepreneurs are the key drivers of progress.”
Furthermore, H.E. underlined that the law supports the country’s strategic direction by developing systems and procedures to ensure legal protection of inventions in a way that encourages the creation of new ideas, innovations and inventions from individuals and companies in various sectors. This is particularly relevant for the seven priority sectors identified by the National Innovation Strategy, which are education, health care, technology, and transportation, renewable energy, space and water.
Indicators & figures that reflect the development of UAE’s industrial property landscape
During the briefing, H.E. the Minister highlighted that the number of patent applications submitted to the Ministry of Economy by the end of the year 2021 reflected a growth of more than 20% compared to last year. He also reviewed the most prominent indicators that reflect the development of the industrial property and patent system in the country during the past years, which include:
- A substantial growth in the number of patent applications submitted annually to the MoE, from 157 in 2000 to 1,288 in 2010, and to 1,917 in 2020.
- During 2021, the Ministry received 2428 new applications, with a growth rate of 26.7% compared to the same period last year.
- The total number of patent applications tripled over the past decade (2010-2020) to reach 24,511 in 2020 compared to 8,028 applications in 2010. It increased during 2021 to reach 26,939 applications.
- The total number of industrial model requests increased by 290% during the last decade to reach 9,690 in 2020 compared to 2,483 requests we received in 2010. It continued to rise last year to reach 10,663 by the end of 2021.
- Patent applications submitted in 2021 were distributed among various sectors such as machinery and construction (23%), chemical engineering (24%), pharmaceuticals and biotechnology (24%), electricity and metals (7%), and information and communication technology (9%).
Moreover, H.E. Al Falasi added that the new law is directed at all segments of the society, including individuals and companies that want to protect their new inventions and innovative ideas with industrial and commercial applications. Foremost among these are individual inventors, universities and academic institutions that supervise the development of inventions and innovations of their students, and companies that have inventions, innovations or research centers. It also stands to benefit entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized companies, start-ups based on innovation and invention, and companies operating in the fields of information and communications technology and new economy sectors.
Al Falasi further explained that the new law’s amendments focus on achieving speed, flexibility and effectiveness in the formal and objective examination processes, registration procedures and services and grants for all industrial property applications, which include patents, utility certificates, industrial designs, and integrated circuits. He pointed out that through the procedures introduced by the new law, the Ministry aims to shorten the time taken to issue the result of the examination of patents to six months starting from receiving the application from 42 months in the past. This is in line with the top five best practices followed by leading patent offices in the world, namely Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, China and the European Union.
Fundamental amendments to the new law to facilitate & stimulate innovation and intellectual property in the country
- Ensures the complete protection of industrial property rights through the addition of industrial property rights that were not included in previous legislation, which are:
- Protection for integrated circuit layout designs, which are important in encouraging and protecting digital innovations and inventions, thus driving advanced technology growth in the country.
- Protection for undisclosed information, which will have an impact on encouraging research and development in the industrial and commercial fields.
- Adoption of four new procedures to achieve flexibility in the management and examination of applications and facilitating and accelerating the procedures for receiving, examining, registering and granting them. This will contribute to increasing the confidence of inventors in the UAE’s business environment and encouraging them to innovate. The four new provisions are:
- Expedited applications, a fast track channel for patent applications through which formal and substantive examinations of the submitted application can be completed quickly.
- Conversion of patent applications to utility certificate requests, and vice versa. This step has an important role in increasing the number of patents and utility certificates granted in the country. It also increases the benefit of utility certificates as an important and useful option in protecting simple inventions and innovations of a tangible nature, so that it becomes a flexible step towards obtaining the full patent.
- The possibility of dividing patent applications, utility certificates and industrial designs into several applications to allow protection for the invention in the various stages of its development.
- Retrieval of applications, as it allows the possibility of restoring a patent application or an industrial model before or after granting it.
- Updates to the procedures for disputes regarding industrial property applications which make it more flexible and faster by allowing re-examination after granting, and creating a mechanism that allows submitting grievance to the Ministry before resorting to the judiciary.
In addition, H.E Al Falasi said that the Ministry of Economy provides integrated services regarding various industrial property applications according to the best international standards, through its website, which can be accessed via https://services.economy.ae/m/Pages/CategoryServices.aspx?CategoryID=14 He noted that efforts are still ongoing to develop these services to meet all requirements, procedures and mechanisms stemming from the new law.
At the conclusion of the media briefing, Al Falasi reviewed the most important expected outcomes of the new law during the next phase in support of Centennial 2071 and the ‘Project of the 50’ that was recently announced by the country, through several strategic and main tracks. The law plays a pivotal role in advancing the process of growth and progress through it, by:
- Granting additional facilities and flexibility in the field of patents and industrial property for the entrepreneurship sector, small and medium companies, start-ups, and establishments that have special wings for research, development and innovation. They will benefit from the industrial property services provided by the Ministry with a higher efficiency and in a manner that contributes to the development of innovation and knowledge in the national economy in a comprehensive manner.
- Creating a competitive and stimulating environment for qualitative investment, whether national or foreign, in areas related to innovation and invention, and increasing the attraction of investors in the technology, research and development sectors. This will encourage inventions and innovations capable of driving industrial development and turning them into successful commercial projects.
- Supporting industrial development efforts in the country, especially those in the modern and advanced industry, by facilitating and stimulating industrial companies’ access to patents and industrial property applications.
- Enhancing the country’s overall attractiveness before talents and competencies and raising its position as a preferred destination in the new economy sectors.
- Increasing access to knowledge and benefit from R&D in the private sector, academic institutions, small and medium enterprises, and start-ups.
- Improving the country’s position on relevant global competitiveness indicators, such as the Global Innovation Index, the Global Entrepreneurship Index, and the Global Competitiveness Index.