In 2021, the UAE announced the largest legal reform in its history by introducing a raft of new laws. The announcement came during the 50th anniversary of the UAE, as part of the government’s ‘towards the next 50’ national strategy. Over 40 new laws are included in the reform, many of which align the UAE towards international best practice.

UAE Patent law: Federal Law no. 11 of 2021 concerning the regulation and protection of Industrial Property Rights.

Effective as of: 1 December 2021.

The new UAE patent law is finally here. The published law introduces some welcomed changes and continues the reform of the UAE’s legal framework to support the UAE Vision 2021 and its goals of developing a knowledge-based economy driven by entrepreneurship and innovation. Further details on the practical implementation of the law are expected to follow in the implementing regulations, which are yet to issue.

The key points in the new law:

  1. Introduction of a novelty grace period of 12 months. This allows applicants to disclose an invention within 12 months of filing the UAE application and this will have no effect on the novelty requirement. Applicants need to be aware that many countries do not provide for a grace period (e.g. other GCC countries and most European countries) and that public disclosure can be harmful for patent protection in those countries.
  2. Positive changes in the UAE patent examination process including the option of filing divisional applications and accelerated examinations to speed up patent grants.
    Courts are recognizing the importance of stronger enforcement measures and imposing higher penalties for patent infringement.

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