Abu Dhabi: The UAE will be setting-up dedicated courts to handle intellectual property rights disputes and small claims. The move is part of the UAE’s strategy to build up a knowledge-based economy and diversity away from hydrocarbons, according to Judge Jasem Saif Buasaibah, head of the judicial inspection department,

“The move reflects the country’s keen interest in protecting intellectual property rights and making quicker and more effective decisions on intellectual property rights-related disputes,” Buasaibah said.

He said the judicial inspection department will provide specialised training to judges to help them understand the procedures and technicalities associated with IPR cases.

“Specialist judges recognise case patterns and legal issues, which reduces delays and facilitates the speedy resolution of cases. This saves time and allows court resources to be used more efficiently. With increased judicial competence in effectively and efficiently resolving IPR cases, confidence in UAE’s IPR litigation will also increase,” Buasaibah said.

UAE is a member to the Paris Union and has a comprehensive patent law and a member signatory to TRIPS Agreement since 1996. The UAE Intellectual Property Law includes patents and industrial design law, trademarks law, copyright and neighbouring rights law.

Buasibah said constantly evolving legal subjects, such as IPR, require judicial and practitioner expertise to adapt to changing technologies and issues.

“The establishment of specialised IPR courts produces more knowledgeable judges and practitioners, who are better able to manage and preside over IPR matters. Because their subject matter is concentrated, specialised IPR courts are better equipped to remain current on new IPR issues and laws,” he said.

An intellectual property court has already been set up at the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance.

Buasibah said small claims courts, which were earlier created at the Fujairah Court of First Instance, will be established at courts across the country.

The jurisdiction of small-claims courts typically encompasses private disputes that do not involve large amounts of money.

A small-claims court generally has a maximum monetary limit to the amount of judgements it can award, often in the Dh20,000 and less. By suing in a small-claims court, the plaintiff typically waives any right to claim more than the court can award. The plaintiff may or may not be allowed to reduce a claim to fit the requirements of this venue. To bring the case to small-claims court, the plaintiff must prove that actual damages are within the court’s jurisdiction of Dh20,000 or less.