UAE removed from US intellectual property protection watch list

The United Arab Emirates has welcomed the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) decision to remove the country from the US intellectual property protection (IPP) Watch List.

In its 2021 Special 301 Report, the USTR outlined a set of key achievements made by the UAE in the field of IPP during the past period, leading to its success in coming off the watch list.

The report highlighted several measures taken by the UAE to develop its national system for protecting intellectual property rights across various commercial and investment activities, the most important of which are: the Ministry of Health and Prevention resolving concerns with IP protection of pharmaceutical products (Decree 321), and the UAE making progress on long-standing IP enforcement concerns, particularly through increased efforts by Dubai Customs.

Also, greater transparency through the publication of IP enforcement procedures by multiple enforcement authorities, including publication of annual IP enforcement statistics by Federal Customs, as well as the efforts by the Ajman Department of Economic Development to significantly reduce the availability of counterfeit goods at the Ajman China Mall.

The USTR’s Special 301 Report puts a spotlight on foreign countries and laws, policies, and practices that fail to provide adequate and effective IP protection and enforcement for US inventors, creators, brands, manufacturers, and service providers.

The USTR reviewed more than 100 trading partners for this year’s report, placing 32 on the Priority Watch List or Watch List.

The UAE’s removal from the Watch List is the culmination of consistent and constructive cooperation between a range of UAE and US stakeholders, including the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Federal Customs Authority, Dubai Customs, the Ajman Department of Economic Development, the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the USTR, the US Department of Commerce, and the US Patents and Trademarks Office, amongst others.

Commenting on the announcement, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State, said, “The USTR’s decision is encouraging news. Over the last year, we have worked hard to strengthen the UAE’s IPP framework in many important ways. This decision is an endorsement of our progress. The UAE is committed to implementing robust IPP regulatory standards, including having an infringement and enforcement framework that upholds these standards.

“We firmly believe that the process of creating and commercialising IP enriches society and drives economic growth. It is, therefore, our intention to build on this positive result and continue to strengthen and reinforce rigorous IPP rights across the UAE.”

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