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DIFC releases Intellectual Property Law for public consultation

The new laws cover intellectual property rights such as copyrights, patents, trade secrets, trademarks and related rights.

HE Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Vice Chairman of the UAE Central Bank said: "By creating a strong legal framework for protecting proprietary knowledge, which is one of the financial service industry’s key assets, the new Intellectual Property laws will enhance the platform of growth that DIFC offers financial companies. The new laws will also promote industry growth by creating the ideal legal environment for product and service innovation. The laws reinforce DIFC's strong emphasis on integrity, transparency and efficiency."

With the exception of the proposed Trade Secrets Law, the proposed Intellectual Property laws are modeled on the UAE Intellectual Property laws which are in tune with international standards and comply with the requirements of the TRIPS/WTO Agreement. The TRIPS/WTO Agreement caters to both civil law and common law jurisdictions. These drafts are designed to achieve this alignment without in any way eroding DIFC’s image and philosophy as a common law jurisdiction.

The proposed Trade Secrets Law was drafted taking into consideration the salient features of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act of 1985 (for thresholds) drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws based in the United States and the Economic Espionage Act of the United States of 1996 (for definition of trade secrets) – both of the aforesaid statutes are common law instruments, thus, the DIFC Trade Secrets Law is compatible with the common law.

DIFC invites the public to comment on the laws, which have been posted on the DIFC website,  Once the consultation period is complete and all relevant comments have been incorporated, the Intellectual Property laws will be presented to the Dubai Ruler for enactment in accordance with Article 6(4) (d) and (f) of Dubai Law No.9..

The public can send their comments until 20 February 2009. Comments should be sent to the DIFC Authority's Chief Legal Officer/ Chairman of the Legislative Committee, Dean A. Ferris on