United Arab Emirates Reduction In Trademark Registration And Renewal Fees

July 30, 2019

The United Arab Emirates officially announced changes in the official fees for services offered by the Ministry of Economy. As regards to intellectual property fees, the following reductions were made: – Trademark registration fees were reduced from AED 10,000 to AED 6,700. No changes to filing and publication fees. – Trademark renewal fees were reduced from AED 10,000 to AED 6,700. No changes to renewal filing and publication fees. Although the decision was recently published and communicated to the agents by the trademark office, the effective date is actually 7 July 2019 and the changes apply to new and pending trademark applications.

Read more

Eligible Sectors for 100% Foreign Ownership in the UAE Now Defined

July 15, 2019

The United Arab Emirates Cabinet passed a landmark decision last year to allow 100% foreign ownership of companies onshore and have recently announced the industry sectors that are eligible. This marks a significant change from the prior law where foreigners must seek a local partner to set up business in the UAE, onshore and where the alternative for 100% foreign ownership in free zones. International companies seeking to establish an onshore presence would have to team up with a UAE national who is required to own 51% shares of the company. With the Foreign Direct Investment Law (Federal Law No.19 of 2018) (the FDI Law) that came into force on 23 September 2018, 100% foreign ownership of UAE onshore companies will now be allowed in eligible sectors. This move is expected to boost the UAE economy, attract foreign direct investment and reaffirm UAE’s position as an international hub for commerce and an optimal environment for doing business. The specific sectors in which 100% foreign ownership shall be allowed include 122 economic activities across 13 sectors such as: Renewable energy Agriculture Information and communications Food services Hospitality Logistics Manufacturing Space Transport Professional, scientific and technical activities Educational activities Healthcare Art and entertainment Construction Through the inclusion of these sectors in the 100% foreign ownership eligibility list, the UAE aims to attract foreign investment into the production of solar panels, green technology, hybrid power plants and power transformers. The UAE also aims to stimulate foreign ownership into transportation and storage which is expected to increase economic activity in supply chain, logistics, cold storage and e-commerce transport. 100% foreign ownership also extends to specific professional, scientific and technical activities across the identified sectors. For example, investors can now own laboratories for research and development in biotechnology. The UAE Cabinet has indicated that the local governments at an emirate level has the discretion to decide on the percentage of foreign ownership for each sector / activity. A negative list has already been released along with the FDI Law’s publication in the Official Gazette last year. The sectors where 100% foreign ownership shall remain restricted include: Oil and gas Banking Utilities Road and air transport Telecoms Medical retail (including pharmacies) We at Al Suwaidi and Company are continuing to monitor any further legal developments in these areas and shall advise our clients as and when further information and details are released regarding foreign ownership and foreign direct investment into the UAE.

Read more

Trademarks – a Brief Guide to Protecting your Business in the UAE Relating to non-use and Licences

July 4, 2019

General rule There is a general rule in most countries worldwide that states one must use their registered Trademark, or it may be subject to a potential cancellation by a competitor. The concept is known as ‘non-use’. In the UAE, use of a trademark is not required for registration or renewal. However, a trademark is vulnerable to revocation by any interested party if there has been no genuine, effective, or continuous use of the mark (except possibly by a bona fide licensee) for a period of 5 consecutive years beginning on the registration date. As a sole exception, this rule is not applicable on world-renowned trademarks as per article 4 of trademarks law. In other words, any application to cancel a world-renowned trademark based on the non-use for continuous 5 years, will be rejected. UAE Federal Law The UAE Federal Law No. (37) of 1992 is an important reference point. The mentioned law is applicable for the seven Emirates of UAE: Abu-Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al-Quwain. Article 22 of this law is the appropriate provision in dealing with non-use. It states the following: “At request of a concerned party, the competent civil court may cancel a registered trademark, if it is proven that such trademark has not been used for five successive years,  unless the trademark owner proves that non-use of such trademark was for reasons beyond his control including, but not limited to, import restrictions and other government conditions imposed on the commodities and services related to such trademark.  For the purposes of this Article, use of the trademark by a person authorized its owner to do so shall be deemed a use of such trademark” Initially, the applicant must demonstrate that the trademark owner has not used the mark as required by Article 22. If the applicant can put forward a robust case, then the burden of proof is on the owner of the mark to prove that there has been continuous use, contrary to the applicant’s claim. Furthermore, as Article 22 implies, if the trademark owner can demonstrate a reason for non-use relating to import restrictions or imposed government conditions which are beyond his control, cancellation can be avoided. Within this law, article 17 states that once a trademark is used continuously within 5 years of the date of registration, its ownership cannot be disputed. There is an exception: if the challenger can show the mark was registered illegitimately. Article 6bis of The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property states, “no time limit shall be fixed for requesting the cancellation or the prohibition of the use of marks registered or used in bad faith”. Licensed use Turning to the position where a trademark is used by a licensed business operator, in a distribution agreement, for example. In the absence of use by a registered holder during the initial 5 years, there is some ambiguity concerning use by a licensee where the license is not a matter of record. If this is the case, it reduces the likelihood that use by a licensee will constitute genuine use to keep the mark […]

Read more

The Legitimacy of Arbitration as a Means of Dispute Resolution

July 3, 2019

Islam has legitimized the arbitration method in order to simplify the process of litigation. Islamic jurisprudence has given the subject of arbitration utmost attention and organized a well-established rules and regulations. The advantages of arbitration lie in streamlining its procedures, confidentiality of its hearings, and legal basis in particular if those in charge are recognized for their competence, skill, independence, experience, integrity and wisdom, as well as the possibility of implementing its provisions internationally. The definition of arbitration in law is equivalent to  Islamic Shari’a, which is an agreement between concerned parties for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, wherein the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the “arbitrators” or “arbitral tribunal”), by whose decision (the “award”) they agree to be bound. The legitimacy of arbitration is evidenced by the Holy Qur’aan and Sunnah, and it differs from Fatwa, judiciary, reconciliation and conciliation, and is a separate contract with its specificities, conditions, rules, and principles. Arbitration in Islamic jurisprudence expands in all its financial and social fields, except Hudud (boundaries), Li’aan (“Mutual cursing”– a form of divorce), and penalties. We find the evidence of  legitimacy of arbitration in the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty Says: (If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: For Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things)  An-Nisa: Verse 35, and also says: (But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction) An-Nisa: Verse 65. In the Prophetic Sunnah, It was narrated from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, that he said: “Whoever arbitrates between two consensual without fairness, the curse of Allah on him.” As for the consensus: the Companions of prophet, agreed on the permissibility and legitimacy of arbitration. The Islamic and Arab countries paid a particular attention in arbitration, they have a special chapter in the Civil and Commercial Procedures Code. Some countries such as United Arab Emirates recognized arbritration as an independent system through Federal Law No. 6 of 2018. Most of the Islamic and Arab countries joined and ratified New York Convention 1958. The International Islamic Fiqh Academy in its ninth session which was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (April 1995), supported arbitration as a legitimate means of dispute settlement and decided that arbitration is an agreement between the two parties to a specific dispute, to mandate a third party to arbitrate between them and settle their differences through a binding verdict that is observant of Islamic Shari’a. Arbitration, thus conceived, is permissible, whether it is amongst individuals or in the field of international conflicts. It has been clarified that Arbitration is not mandatory for the two conflicting parties nor is it for the arbitrator. Either of the parties may decline it as long as the arbitration has not started, and the arbitrator may disassociate himself from the […]

Read more

Legal Due Diligence: Understanding How a Company Fares

July 3, 2019

UAE has established itself as an economic hub in the MENA Region. Investors are presented with numerous options on how to enter the UAE market. Some establish their own companies while others opt to enjoy the market reputation, existing processes, and manpower of established companies in the UAE through mergers or acquisitions. Due diligence investigation is a great tool to analyze the potential pay-off and risks of investments. It enables the decision-makers to have a certain level of understanding of the company to make informed decisions and chart the course of transactions.  While financial due diligence may yield impressive numbers, having a full legal due diligence is equally important to ensure that the buyer is getting a comprehensive understanding of risks and liabilities. What does a legal due diligence investigation usually cover? The scope of most legal due diligence investigation includes the assessment of the following: Company documents such as memorandum/articles of associations, minutes of shareholders and board of directors meetings; share certificates; licenses and permits Human resources record on organizational structure; key personnel contracts, pension schemes, HR policies, and employment issues; Material contracts depending on the industry type including joint ventures and agency agreements; Financials including loan agreements and business plans; Assets including intellectual property and real rights; Administrative and court cases as well as pending Alternative Dispute Resolution matters Various factors will also affect the scope of the due diligence examination. The cooperation of the subject company, the organization of the resources and documents to be examined, as well as the allotted time and budget for the due diligence. It is therefore important that the clients’ concerns and objectives for the merger or acquisition are clearly established at the outset so the due diligence investigation can be focused.  It is also important to engage lawyers who have experience and exposure to the industry of the subject company. Due diligence investigation results can aid in structuring the transactions. It will serve as a guide for the preparation of the transaction documents identifying the warranties and guarantees needed from both sides.  It can also be used to justify the price, offer or any conditions attached to the sale transaction. Even after conclusion of the sale, a due diligence report can serve as a guide for the new management to tackle issues identified, to adapt to or restructure the organization, and as a general guide to the various facets of the company’s operations. If you want to know how a company really fares, a due diligence investigation is a must. *** Al Suwaidi & Company have helped several clients conclude mergers and acquisitions and assisted in management transitions. If you need to explore the conduct of full or partial legal due diligence, Al Suwaidi & Company has a dedicated team of lawyers and paralegals for legal due diligence investigations.

Read more

the 2018 Multilaw Annual Global Meeting event (“AGM”) held in Bangkok, Thailand from 25-28 October 2018.

July 3, 2019

– Our Firm represented by Mr. Mohammed Al Suwaidi (Managing Partner) and Ms. Stephanie Mouanes (Associate) have attended the 2018 Multilaw Annual Global Meeting event (“AGM”) held in Bangkok, Thailand from 25-28 October 2018. – More than 100 lawyers from 90 independent law firms have attended this event, all coming from different Regions (America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa). – On the first day of the event (Oct. 25) Ms. Stephanie Mouanes have participated as a speaker in the Global Employment Law Forum that took place at the offices of the hosting Firm Tilleke & Gibbins in Bangkok. The discussion was about the flexibility in the workplace and the gig economy whereby each speaker have discussed these topics from the perspective of their jurisdiction. The speakers were from the UAE (myself), USA (Andrew Cripe), Germany (Claudine Gemeiner), UK (Jon Heuvel), Portugal (Carmo Sousa Machado) & Thailand (June Vipamaneerut). The Forum was attended by around 40 attendees from various international companies (in-houses, VP legal, HR Directors and others).

Read more

Demystifying the Local Courts, The Seminar by K&L Gates and Al Suwaidi &Company

July 3, 2019

Our Firm’s Managing Partner Mr. Mohammed Alsuwaidi conducted a seminar along with K&L Gates at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai on Monday 10 Dec. 2018 whereby he spoke about “Demystifying the UAE Local Courts”. Mr. Al Suwaidi explained to all the attendees about the insights into the UAE Civil & Criminal Courts including structure, procedures, applicable rules and regulations in persuading a claim either as a claimant or defendant, enforcement etc.

Read more

Celebrating 21st Anniversary of Al Suwaidi & Company.

July 2, 2019

Celebrating 21st Anniversary of Al Suwaidi & Company. We also celebrate Awardees our Colleagues who have completed 10 years and 20 years in our offices.

Read more

IPBA conference held on 23-24 January 2019

July 2, 2019

IPBA conference held on 23-24 January has been a great success. Held for the first time in the UAE with support of Global Advocacy and Legal Counsel, Al Suwaidi & Company, Hadef & Partners, ADR Management Consultancies and Lexis Nexis Middle East & North Africa. Al Suwaidi & Company actively participated as a Host Committee member. High-level participants from UAE, KSA, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Germany, Japan, Korea, and other countries discussed compelling issues on Agency Agreements that are found to be correlated across the Middle East. The topics covered were on negotiations to operations and what happens in the event of a dispute, including arbitration and litigation options, as well as enforcement. Al Suwaidi & Company sent delegates who actively participated in the event.

Read more

The Arab & International Arbitrators Roundtable Discussion (The Future of Dispute Resolution in the UAE) held on 27 of Jan 2019

July 2, 2019

Mr. Mohammed Alsuwaidi attended The Arab & International Arbitrators Roundtable Discussion (The Future of Dispute Resolution in the UAE) held on 27 of Jan 2019 in ADGM Arbitration Center in Abu Dhabi. The main points covered by the Discussion are: 1- The new Arbitration Law and how this development will shape the dispute resolution landscape in the UAE; 2- Issues that may concern arbitrators under the new UAE arbitration law; 3- Key issues arbitrators should take into consideration under the new arbitration law.

Read more