10 Jan 2012

NEW COURTS TO HEAR IP RIGHTS CASES IN ABU DHAB

Authored by: Tarik El Bakri

NEW COURTS TO HEAR IP RIGHTS CASES IN ABU DHAB

Dr. Hadef Al Dhahiri, Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Federal Supreme Judicial Council, has signed an ordinance setting up two new circuit courts in Abu Dhabi to look into intellectual property rights (IPR) disputes cases, in which federal government entities are parties.
  
A new intellectual property (IP) circuit has been created in the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of First Instance and the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal, effective 29 December 2011, as announced recently by the Ministry of Justice pursuant to its Decision No. 944 of 2011.
 
The circuit is limited to hearing disputes where one of the parties is the UAE Federal Government or one of its agencies. This development is significant in at least two respects:
 
-          it is a partial response to the absence of a federal-wide administrative law that regulates, among other things, disputes between private entities (be they individuals or juridical bodies) and federal government entities, by creating a specialised circuit that would adjudicate disputes that concern a special area of the law namely, IP law;
 
-          secondly, it aims to streamline IP related judgments by having these issued by a specialised bench, instead of by disparate benches (e.g. commercial, civil benches etc) spread across the UAE with varying degrees of exposure to IP related issues.
 
This is good news for IP practitioners for it paves the way for the emergence of a consistent body of indigenous IP jurisprudence, which, in turn, will spur the development of IP law in the UAE in general and provide a more stable environment where IP rights are protected.  
 
It should also give a boost to the UAE economy as the country’s stature as “IP friendly” is bolstered. This is not to mention, of course the boost a stable IP legal environment with relative depth would have on the development of indigenous IP based economic activities.
 
As yet, no announcement has been made as to whether the judges hearing cases on this new circuit would be specialist IP judges or indeed if another circuit may be planned to hear non-government related IPC dispute cases.