Dubai: The proliferation of digital tools makes it more challenging to tackle intellectual property (IP) crime, the 12th Regional IP Crime Conference for the Middle East and North Africa heard on Tuesday in Dubai.
Organised by Dubai Police in cooperation with Interpol and various UAE government departments, the conference hosted talks by senior officials sharing the latest developments in the IP sector. This year’s theme of the conference, which was held at Mohammed bin Rashid Library, was ‘Building Capabilities to Drive IP Leadership’.
Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, chairman of the board of directors of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, said crimes against IP represent a great threat not only to individuals’ creative efforts and companies’ income, but to the economy and society as a whole. He added that IP intellectual property crimes, especially in the literary and cultural sector, constitute a major challenge in light of the accelerating digital transformation the world is witnessing. Participants at the conference called to unite efforts and create global legislation to protect IP rights in all fields, commensurate with the widespread use of the internet and new digital applications.
Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai, and Honorary President of the Emirates Intellectual Property Association, said during the opening ceremony that the Association, through the Dahi Khalfan Centre for Intellectual Property, has worked in cooperation with its partners to launch several qualification programmes, vocational and academic training, and workshops to build the capacities of cadres working in the government and private sectors in the field of IP.
“One of the most important indicators indicating the success of the industrial renaissance and economic growth and development in any country in the world is the strength and strictness of the laws it issues to preserve the rights of others and protect their productions in various fields, whether intellectual, commercial, industrial, etc.,” he said.
He added that the UAE has made rapid strides in the field of protecting rights, ideas, inventions and trademarks, through its enactment of strict laws and legislations that criminalise the infringement of the IP.
Major General Dr Abdul Quddous Abdul Razzaq Al Obaidly, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Excellence and Leadership Affairs at Dubai Police, and President of the Emirates Intellectual Property Association, said the Dahi Khalfan Centre for Intellectual Property has succeeded in graduating accredited experts who are able to curb the infringement of IP in the country. The graduates handle IP disputes and help in enforcing laws applicable in the country, he added.
Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said: “There is no doubt that holding this conference carries an important message to the local and international community, that the UAE places the protection of intellectual property among its priorities and plans for the future, and is keen to develop integrated frameworks for cooperation.”
This focus enhances the creation of a healthy investment environment that is free from imitation and forgery, and works effectively to enforce laws in a way that supports attracting more owners of trademarks, he added. Al Saleh said the use of modern technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and others contribute to reducing IP crimes.
In the UAE, the relevant legislation includes Federal Law No. 11 of 2021 regarding the regulation and protection of industrial property rights, the Federal Decree Law No. 8 of 2021 regarding copyright and related rights, and Federal Decree Law No. 36 of 2021 regarding trademarks.
Al Saleh pointed out that the legislative system for IP in the country contributed to enhancing the growth rates of patents and innovation, as the Ministry of Economy achieved a 55 per cent growth in the number of patent applications registered with it during 2022 compared to 2021, and a 30.6 per cent growth in the number of patent applications.
He added that the UAE succeeded in registering 21,322 local trademarks and 5,051 international trademarks during 2022. The UAE also topped the first position at the Arab and regional level in many indicators related to innovation and intellectual property,
Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Vice President and CEO of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and Director-General of Dubai Customs, said the number of intellectual property dispute cases handled by the Department in 2022 amounted to 388 cases, including 14.5 million items of counterfeit goods with a total value of Dh109.5 million.