The UAE is no longer on the US Anti-Counterfeiting watch List, thanks to Dubai Government Customs' Intellectual Property Enforcement efforts
Dubai Customs’ commitments to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights have paved the way for a new UAE benchmark. In its Annual Special Report on Intellectual Property Rights, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), a US government department, agreed to exclude the UAE from the Watch List for IP protection and enforcement. The UAE is now identified in the report as one of the countries and trading partners of the United States that take appropriate and efficient steps to protect and implement intellectual property rights following international IP best practices and standards.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is the body in charge of establishing and recommending US trade policy as well as conducting bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations. It is in charge of publishing the annual reports on countries' compliance with international trade agreements and regulations, including intellectual property rights.
The UAE made progress on long-standing IP enforcement issues, according to the USTR's latest study on global IP compliance, thanks to several IP enforcement initiatives implemented by various local government and federal authorities. The report appreciated "increased efforts by Dubai Customs" and the prominent element it has played in intellectual property regulation and awareness in Dubai, resulting in the UAE's exclusion from the Watch List of countries that are less consistent with IP rights protection.
The CEO and Chairman of the DP World Group and Chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem highly appreciated the US Trade Representative's decision to exclude the UAE from the watch list of countries with limited intellectual property security. He emphasized that Dubai Customs is dedicated to carrying out all of the UAE's responsibilities under foreign trade regulations and agreements and that the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights are of paramount importance to the UAE.
Protecting IP rights is a vital competitive advantage that aids the economy prosper and attracts further trade by creating a secure environment for foreign companies and traders to protect their products and business properties from the dangers of counterfeit and pirated goods. IP security is also beneficial for promoting creativity and innovation because it improves a company's ability to generate sales and make the most of new products and creations that are introduced to the market. Bin Sulayem reasserted that Dubai Customs has been actively engaged in combating the illegal trade in counterfeits in full cooperation with the US and other international diplomatic bodies. Our customs centers collaborate with the IPR agency, as well as other related stakeholders and border agencies, to enforce intellectual property laws and protect trademark owners' rights by seizing and preventing IPR-infringing products from entering local markets.
The Director-General of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, pronounced that Dubai Customs has long been steadfastly committed to intellectual property rights protection. In 2005, we established the IPR department, the first of its kind at the level of customs authorities in the Middle East, to optimize coordination amongst different customs units and centers in the area of enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights," said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs. He further added that the priority is to raise awareness about the dangers of counterfeit goods. Via a variety of activities and programs, we involve all segments of society, including the younger generations, to impart and encourage this IP security culture. “We're constantly improving our performance in this field by enhancing our cooperation with diplomatic bodies and brand owners to allow them to protect their trademarks from unfair competition from fake, counterfeit products,"
In the first quarter of 2021, Dubai Customs held 12 IP awareness events for 1,394 customs employees and students. In 2020, 46 public awareness events were held, benefiting 2,358 people. With the participation of 309 personnel, Dubai Customs conducted ten workshops last year, 2020 to introduce new ways of distinguishing between fake and genuine goods, and two workshops were conducted in the first quarter of 2021 for a total of 68 participants. Dubai Customs settled 81 intellectual property disputes worth AED 11.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 and recycled 510,000 counterfeit goods for 26 foreign brands. In 2020, 255 conflicts worth AED 62.2 million were resolved, and 161,800 counterfeit products representing 60 brands were recycled.
Dubai Customs' teams are in constant contact with US and international diplomatic missions to understand their needs and requirements in terms of intellectual property security and compliance to ensure the business interests of their fellow national firms, according to Yousuf Ozair Mubarak, Director of the IPR department. "As a result, we're willing to work with trademark owners and copyright holders to thwart any efforts to smuggle counterfeit products that infringe on their intellectual property rights under applicable international regulations."