INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai

Author: Dr. Sandjar Muminov, the President of SANDJAR GROUP, Head of IP & Investment Team, Founder of INTEROCO Copyright Group.


Let’s take a look at a situation when a startup demonstrates its product to the investor. From the first perception, it seems that only the final results of the work done matter now, and nothing else, right? Well, it’s not quite like that.

Statistics shows that about 80% of startups grow in leaps and bounds: at the very beginning, a good idea comes to the entrepreneur’s head. Then he (she) puts it aside for a while. Then he (she) gets back to it – finds some money, does something, and puts the idea aside again. Entrepreneur returns to it in a few months after some research, and so on. The project’s author dedicates some time to his own business and keeps doing something else to make some money for a living. At this point, an evolving startup does not generate any income, so the businessman cannot work on it full time. It all happens erratically, inconsistently, from time to time. The same is with the documents – a logo was registered, a few months later, the website design was finished and registered, then it takes some time to enroll the source code, and so on.

Such random “leaps of time” make a rough impression on potential investors as they perceive such work as chaotic. As a result of such a disorganized approach, doubts arise in the investors’ heads: how will everything work further? Therefore, the step-by-step concept will be necessary and obligatory.

That is where the Systematic Approach Principle applies – this means that your entire business project, as well as the documentation, is maintained and kept accurately and systematically.

This principle proves that you are ready for steady work from a long-term perspective. It shows potential investors that you know how to manage business processes, maintain your records, and are able to provide necessary documents. This is what the investors like to see – it is one of the most influential decisive factors.

Put a plan and arrange everything in a system that can be presented to the investor. A systematic approach to plan-based work looks like this:

Step 1: You come up with an idea,
Step 2: Conducted the market research,
Step 3: Then test your product or service,
Step 4: Register intellectual property (IP) rights,
Step 5: Implement it, etc.

Such an approach will show your investor that you haven’t given up and left the project halfway, on contrary you have been working on it to create a solid product.

Working with Intellectual Property to Attract Investors

The above-mentioned Systematic Approach Principle applies to intellectual property as well. You should have a clear history of what has been done in terms of IP registration and protection, be ready to explain the details and show the entire roadmap with work in progress.

As a vivid example, once we have worked with a large online project where the investors were ready to invest an impressive amount of money. Our client, the project leader, came to us with a problem: “Look, I’m meeting with investors next week, but my project is not legally protected at all! Can we do something about it?”

They gave me an investor questionnaire to show how everything is protected, what documents I have to provide, etc. But I don’t even know what to answer.

In an emergency mode, we’ve finished all the paperwork and necessary registrations within three days. On the 4th day, the meeting with the investors took place where our client showed all required documents – everything was excellent and properly executed. It was a huge deal as they have invested 50% of the project.

In an informal atmosphere, the investor’s lawyer looked at all the documents and asked: “Why were all the documents signed yesterday? Your project exists for more than five years in the market. So why is everything all of a sudden, like coming out of nowhere?”.

Unfortunately, we did not instruct our client what to say in such a situation. He replied: “You know, we’ve been continuously working on the project. So we’ve constantly updated the design, engine, and databases. Thus, we have shown you only the latest updated version of IP protection documents and certificates.”

Of course, we had all the work in progress before, but there’s no need to confuse the investors. That was a great answer, but everything could go wrong in just a few seconds.

Capitalizing Your Startup

Capitalization is another aspect. Be aware of capitalizing your works a week before a meeting, as it may look suspicious for the investor when the estimation goes up to, for example, a few million. The question “how come that you had such a leap from zero to million” will appear from any investor.

To avoid such concerns and be successful with a startup project, you have to constantly support it, provide it with legal protection, capitalize it, keep accurate records of investments, and do other necessary paperwork. Be prepared to provide all the data in the form of a detailed log: here is the history of all our investments, it’s continuous. And here is the history of our document protection and the history of our product.

Last but not least: it’s necessary not only to showcase your project but also “wrap it up” to attract investments. Use the Systematic Approach Principle, and it will make your investor trust you and increase the chance for a sealed deal.

Stay tuned and don’t hesitate to ask questions the author of the blog via email info@dubaicopyright.ae.

Author: Dr. Sandjar Muminov, the President of SANDJAR GROUP, Head of IP & Investment Team, Founder of INTEROCO Copyright Group.


Imagine that you are an entrepreneur with a startup company or an ambitious team of enthusiasts willing to create a great product. You show your project to an investor. The investor looks and says: “Okay, that is a great idea, we’ll get in touch with you.”

After the presentation, the investor talks to his (her) development team, shows them the materials: “Guys, take a look. Can we do it?” And then asks his (her) team if they can implement your concept on their own. Quite a predictable situation, right?

You, as a project author, will show slides, roadmaps, alpha/beta-version builds, and various prototypes while presenting the idea. And indeed, anyone can steal your creation if there is no source code security (for software, that’s called obfuscation of programming code) & prior legal protection of the product.

It’s not a secret that to find a person who will do all the dirty work, grabbing the code and rebuilding your application will cost an unfair investor up to USD 250K. And eventually, when the product is officially released and monetizing starts, the investor can register the ownership to a third party. After the release, they can send copyright claims to App Store, Google, state authorities, etc. And here you are – from the legal point of view, you are not the original creator anymore – the investor is the legal owner of the product. You can call it wrong, cruel, unfair, but that’s business, and we’ve seen those stories many times in our practice. It’s all about business, so moral, ethical, and other aspects don’t matter here.

So, how the yet-to-be-released product author can escape all these troubles & secure his (her) creation? The answer is simple enough – stick to the Principle of Limitations.

The main idea behind the Principle of Limitations is about three key aspects. It means that a startup or a business project can attract investments only if it:

  1. Cannot be taken over. It’s impossible to take it over from the owner through the prevention of the ability to register the original intellectual property.
  2. Cannot be copied. There’s no legal way to copy, reproduce the product, following the same pattern with slight changes.
  3. Cannot be headhunted. It’s impossible to lure away its creators/ developers, make sure the employees are not eligible to share confidential data about the project.

Limitation One vs. "Let's Take the Project Idea"

Large corporations often take over the control of the new products – people come to pitch a project idea and get nothing in the end. Then they try to claim their rights, try to do something, go to court – but no luck, of course. There are hundreds of such cases, but we hear nothing about it because those who bring new ideas have no legal power to fight against large companies. What we hear about is Windows or Facebook acquiring new projects or entire teams. Why does it happen? Because the corporation didn’t manage to copy a product or could not hire the original developers.

There’s one real case in the UAE we want to share with you, it’s very complicated, and the details of it can blow the mind. An independent development team in Dubai showed their works to one of the world’s biggest IT-сorporations, leading photo and video app service with a recently opened Dubai office.

They showed the IT giants new features that can be implemented in the Social Media service, like finding people around you on the map and some new visuals for the App. This corporation gave the project developers good feedback and appreciated all the concepts that were shown. And then just copied them with compensation to the creators. The battle is still ongoing, but how a world-famous brand with over 50 patents, many copyright registrations, made such dishonest actions versus independent developers seems unbelievable.

Limitation Two vs. "Let's Try to Copy It With Our Tools"

The second big reason to be afraid of corporations if you haven’t legally protected your product is their internal resource, i.e., they have tools to get your product to release without you and become the copyright holder. This is where the second limitation comes in – the lack of legal ability to copy.

Remember, any new project you want to monetize must be protected as intellectual property. For example, protect your product as a work of science, an author’s business project, or an invention. Registering it as an invention won’t help you long-term: just change some parameters a bit, and you already have a different invention and a patent on it. Copyright protection in the form of a work of science is more effective for long-term IP protection.

Limitation Three vs. "Let's Hire Their People"

The third aspect is about human resources. When straightforward taking or copying is not an option, headhunting is the last option left, i.e., trying to steal the developers with all the know-how and works in progress. Nothing illegal or unethical here, if an investor or a larger company offers better salary and benefits when making a job offer. And the developers join their team. But that’s when trade secrets protection and non-disclosure agreements can help. So even if the employees leave your company, they cannot share anything due to imposed confidentiality restrictions.

The Principle of Limitations is one of the most important things to be considered at the product development stage and is one of the essential startup growth principles. When all these three limitations work, nobody can “eat” your startup or a business project up and, instead, will want to bring you money for your project.

Consider and discuss all these aspects from the get-go before the project has already been stolen, copied, or the staff has been lured away.

Stay tuned and don’t hesitate to ask questions the author of the blog via email info@dubaicopyright.ae.

About the author of the series “The Business Growth Principles”

Dr. Sandjar Muminov is an international IP Expert with 23 years of experience in various intellectual property spheres. Dr. Sandjar is the President of SANDJAR GROUP, Head of IP & Investment Team, Founder of INTEROCO Copyright Group. He managed over 16,000 clients in 30 countries and has capitalized USD 7.9 billion in clients’ intangible assets.

Dr. Sandjar was invited as an International IP Expert for 1,500 legal and litigation cases worldwide, and his clients won 98.5% from total number of cases.

Dr. Sandjar Muminov is the only CIS and Middle East IP Expert to be quoted by Forbes.

Startup founders have been very lucky with the access to information in this era. It’s easy to find on the web a tremendous amount of up-to-date advice on how to attract investment to a project, draw up a business plan, and many other practical tips that help with startup management. Yet, there is a lack of information on how to protect your business or creation in the legal field properly and on time.

For this reason, we’ve decided to fill the information vacuum with a series of articles named “Startups: Business Growth Principles” that provide practical information & useful insights gained from our experience working with startups.

In this article & upcoming series, you will learn:

  • How to build a diverse IP-Portfolio & what happens if you concentrate only on one part of it.
  • How to recognize the potential of your IP assets & how to manage and capitalize them.
  • What steps need to be taken before meeting with an investor?
  • What are the do’s & don’ts in negotiating with the investors?
  • How to showcase the prototype of a product in front of the audience?
  • What measures must be taken to protect a developing business against illegal use of intellectual property?
  • What are the key features of a successful, fast-growing startup?
  • Why do startups fail & what are the common mistakes?

We will answer these questions in our upcoming series. We believe this will help you to legally protect your startup and avoid many mistakes along your business journey.

Two Sides of a Coin Principle

The series of articles starts with the first principle – “Two Sides of a Coin Principle”, refers to the importance of IP-protection in your business.

Imagine you are the startup founder, passionately working on your promising project and trying to reach out to a potential investor for support. Like any business owner, you seek capital raising possibilities or looking for a reliable business partner. All these actions are public as they show the world that you are the creator representing your development: this is what I come up with, and my innovation helps people solve their problems. Your leadership status, the team, the brand image of your future venture, works that you already have – are one side of the coin.

But the coin has a flip side. The flip side is the legal protection of your project or product. It does not only show everyone that you are the original creator but demonstrates the legal protection of your startup when necessary. Otherwise, there is a high chance that your brilliant innovation is taken away at a very early stage or fails during a coffee break with potential investors.

Many startup founders often say: “I have invented a one-of-a-kind technology, so why should I bother to protect it? Nonsense. No one can copy it; it is an outstanding innovation. Even if someone can duplicate it, I will do even better.” Such people don’t want to spend time or money on legal protection. It is a common mistake and a misbelief.

However, without proper legal protection in place, having a great concept or even a finished product on the market is still risky. The problem is that if someone sees your original product, they can reproduce it, do all the paperwork and legally prohibit you from using your own development. In a digital era, copying ideas and technologies can be a feasible option for your competitors – this is the dark side of the story. So, if you don’t want to get yourself into costly legal battles, take intellectual property protection measures seriously.

These are the two sides of the coin. Our advice is to keep a balance between the two. First, build a strong brand and image of your great yet-to-be-released product, spread the word about it – from one side of the coin. Second, keep your work and developments secured from the competition, increase the legal protection of your startup when it grows – that’s another side of the coin.

In the next series, you will learn:

  • Three steps each startup should take to stay strong on the market.
  • How many IP objects does a typical IT startup have?
  • What are the not-so-obvious positive signs that any investor would like to see?
  • How to get protected from theft, plagiarism, dishonest actions of the competitors?
  • Other vital measures to secure your business.

Stay tuned and don’t hesitate to ask questions the author of the blog via email info@dubaicopyright.ae.

Do you want to grow your business and make more profit from your intellectual property (IP)? Licensing or franchising your brand, technology, or even your business model can be a good direction. These IP models are beautiful, and both can be a path to successful expansion with less risk.

Are you unclear about the differences between licensing and franchising? Then let our overview of these two concepts guide you to make the right decision depending on your business goals.

Franchising: terminology and advantages

Most of the time, when we hear the term “franchising,” it refers to the business format of franchising. The franchisor is a company with a strong brand and a well-established and profitable business model or technology. It seeks to replicate that model or technology through franchising to others – the franchisees.
Macdonald’s, Starbucks, and Burger King are examples of well-known companies that have experienced great success and international reach through franchising.

Franchising involves a much higher level of oversight, regulation, and cost than licensing. However, choosing a franchise model ensures a higher level of operational control, which may be the best way to protect your business in the trade.

Benefits of franchising

If you embrace the franchising model as a tool for business expansion and monetization of your intellectual property, be prepared to reap the benefits:

  • Opportunity to receive immediate revenue from your franchisees to use the brand and business model (a flat fee for joining the franchise system, along with ongoing royalties and other franchising fees as specified in the franchise agreement).
  • Franchising extends the use and reputation of the brand, technology, or business model to a broader geographic area and audience.
  • Franchising ensures a higher degree of operational control of the franchise owner, which can be the best way to protect the brand and its use in commerce.
  • Franchising grants the franchisee the rights to an exclusive area or territory to eliminate direct competition with other franchise locations.

Licencing explained

In a licensing agreement, the business owner, the licensor, grants a licensee the right to use the licensor’s brand name or other intellectual property rights (such as copyrights). The important difference with the “franchising” model is that a licensing agreement typically does not involve replicating an existing business format. But as with franchising, the licensee’s business benefits from the licensor’s brand and intellectual property, and the licensee pays fees to the licensor accordingly.

The perfume industry is a good example of this – the majority of all known fragrances are manufactured and distributed by just two or three major perfume houses. Calvin Klein, Cerruti, Vera Wang, and Chloe, for example, are all manufactured and distributed by Coty under license from the brand owners. Similarly, the revenues that companies such as Disney, Warner Brothers, and BBC Worldwide derive from the licensing of merchandise in many cases exceed the profits from the corresponding film or TV rights.

Growing the business through licensing does not require as much time and financial investment as franchising. Therefore, licensing can be a more cost-effective solution to expand, at least in the beginning.

Advantages of licensing

Get into the licensing model if you want to reap such benefits from your intellectual property:

  • A license is easier to manage than a franchise.
  • License agreements are cheaper and easier to set up than a franchise and less demanding in ongoing management time.
  • A license can be granted to a third party who can use it in a consumer sector where the license holder has no presence or expertise.
  • Licensing works well when the licensor has developed a particular technology, know-how, brand image, or design that is attractive to licensees who want to integrate it into their existing business (e.g., software and database technology are always exploited through licensing).

Summary

If your goal is to expand and grow your brand through additional outlets or service areas, franchising is the proper legal model, and licensing is not an alternative.

However, before choosing a franchising business expansion model, keep in mind that not all countries have a clear and transparent regulation for this particular contractual area. Sometimes the laws are so extensive, complex, and ambiguous that you should consult a very experienced IP Expert and lawyer.

Should you decide to franchise before entering a new market, make sure that local laws govern intellectual property, and that the franchise agreement contains clear clauses on how the brand name, designs, and trade secrets such as production techniques are protected.

Suppose you want stable royalty income but have limited time and financial resources to get started and want to secure the business against unfair competition by controlling how other businesses use your brand. In that case, the licensing model is for you. Unlike franchising, licensing agreements are a well-regulated area worldwide.

Both franchising and licensing can make your business a success if you have spent some time researching which concept is best for you. INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai was established to help businesses in the MENA region understand the process of registering a copyright and other intellectual property rights. We not only provide IP protection services for individuals and businesses but also offer solutions that will allow monetizing your IP assets boosting your business growth.  Contact us today to see what we can do for you.

In some countries, no restrictions are preventing the use of unregistered trademarks. For example, in the Russian Civil Code, anyone can create their trademark without registering it first. However, this does not mean that an unregistered trademark is completely free to use as you please because sometimes other people have rights to a specific name. If you do not follow these rules, your “trademark” could be taken away from you or turned into something else by someone who has more power than you.

The term “unregistered” means that these trademarks exist but are not legally registered, and no protection is offered for them – yet!

Trademark registration is necessary for any company that avoids economic risks associated with an unregistered trademark.

1. Unfair competition

The absence of exclusive rights provides an opportunity for competitors who “parasitize” on the popularity and business reputation built up around the brand to enter the market. As a result, a bona fide manufacturer suffers losses associated with lost sales profits and a decline in consumer confidence as competitors may produce inferior goods.

2. Unfair registration of a trademark

Another person may obtain exclusive rights in the designation, and a bona fide manufacturer may lose the ability to use the disputed mark. It is common in the practice of law for such registration to be made for the very purpose of blocking the business of others.

3. Patent trolling

In the past, companies registered trademarks to protect themselves from imitators and fraudsters. Today, however, this practice has been reversed, as many of these registrations are now used for nefarious purposes by people who have no intention of using them commercially. Trademarks are accumulated to make claims or sell the rights to bona fide and successful entrepreneurs who did not seek a certificate promptly. These companies carefully monitor the infringement of their rights, and when the use of a disputed mark reaches a significant volume, they make claims and receive substantial compensation.

Specifying an unregistered trademark in someone else's domain name

Addressing the global internet is an important aspect of leveraging a brand. Over time, consumers will begin to search for information about your product. If they visit a website with similar products or domains as yours but different prices, you may miss out on customers making the wrong choice.

It is unintentionally using an unregistered trademark that can’t be registered. Trademark infringement is a widespread occurrence for many businesses who do not understand the legal implications of trademark rights and how to protect themselves.

A business or individual may unknowingly use unregistrable trademarks that are generic, offensive, or descriptive and cannot be registered to represent your business properly. Therefore, when creating brand names, it is extremely important to ensure that they only deal with companies that have proper registration so that there is no confusion over ownership and customer satisfaction remains high at all times.

5. Impossibility to gain financial benefit

When a company or business owner uses unregistered marks, it bears the risk of not deriving any financial benefit from selling the unregistered mark separate from its business.

6. Enforcement to secure business rights

In terms of enforcement, it isn’t easy to secure your rights with an unregistered trademark. For example, suppose an unfair competitor steals your unregistered mark and uses it to identify their goods or has created a mark similar to your unregistered mark. In that case, it will be difficult for you to provide evidence and gather proof instead of whether the mark was registered. You will need to prove that using an unregistered mark has gained some notoriety through sales, marketing strategies, and geographic scaling. Even if you have provided evidence of awareness of an unregistered mark, you must remember that third parties can easily challenge it.

7. Inability to manage exclusive rights in the public interest

If the trademark is unregistered, the law cannot help preventing illegal acts by third parties against unregistered marks and refer the mark by such acts as including the unregistered mark in a trademark compendium or dictionaries or use in newspaper articles or books or other publications by those who are not competitors of the mark. Some legislations allow trademark owners to require third parties to use the mark properly.

Summary

Although the law in many countries does not require mandatory trademark registration, leaving this matter to the discretion of business owners, you could find yourself in legal trouble down the road if someone or something else uses the same name, symbol, logo on products, or services as your business. So if you want to be legally protected as a business, why not register a trademark? It’s better to go for a trademark than to take the risk.

If you’re looking to start a business, expand your product line, or rebrand something already in existence, it is important to ask yourself one question: do I need to protect the brand of my company? As with any intellectual property matter, before going through the process of acquiring it or deciding that it isn’t necessary for your purposes, make sure all the boxes have been ticked. Registering a trademark is a very serious and important process. Here are eight things to consider when registering your brand name or logo.

1. What is a trademark?

A trademark can be anything from words to graphic representations (usually a logo) representing a company, product, or service from a legal perspective. The first thing you need to understand when you ask yourself, “Do I need a trademark?” is separate from other business filings. It is an entirely separate legal process compared to the process you go through to register your fictitious name, LLC trade name, or sole proprietorship with the appropriate state and federal registrars of legal entities.

2. What are the main benefits of trademarking the logo?

Registering your Trademark is the first step in protecting yourself from other companies using it for their purposes. It’s a necessary tool to ensure that you have exclusive rights over your name and logo, which are integral parts of establishing an identity as a company. Registering trademarks can also help prevent others from duplicating or infringing on features of your product, such as its packaging design or trade dress (the appearance).

3. What is the difference between a trademark and a copyright?

A trademark refers to symbols, words, and logos that represent a particular brand. A trademark is essentially your brand name and its identity. Copyright applies to creative and artistic works, music, film, photography, painting, writing, and so on. You can legally protect your logo as copyright as well.
Please see the table below to learn more about the trademark and copyright protection features of your logo.

Trademarks Copyright
Оbjectives of legal protection Ensuring recognition of authorship in the country of registration, legalization of the use of the development by the author. Recognition of authorship worldwide, prohibition of plagiarism around the world, the possibility of capitalization and monetization.
The most common types of objects to be registered Protects product and services names, logos, and slogans. Brands, package designs, logo, business concepts, designs, software.
Legal protection features Limitation by classes, some commonly used words cannot be trademarked. No limitation by classes, industries. Must satisfy the requirements: to be creative, original, and expressed in objective form
Key benefits Trademark allows for prohibiting unauthorized use or the use of similar trademarks likely to be confused. Color, semantics, phonetics, proportions, ratios are recognized as signs of difference. Reproduction (replication) of the creative intent of one work. Minor changes prevent competitors from using the object.
Validity term Ten years (can be renewed with state fee payment). Typically lasts the creator’s lifetime, plus 5070 years.
Terms of registration 46 months 1020 days
The territory of recognition & legal protection In-country of registration. Worldwide (179 countries).

4. Is a trademark enforceable around the world

No. Trademark grants you trademark protection only in the country where you filed the trademark application. Although registering your logo as a trademark in one country may make it easier to register a trademark in another country, you will need to file a separate trademark application or seek international legal protection in each country in which you seek legal protection, as international agreements and regulations have created a mechanism for you to obtain an international trademark. This total will add additional costs as your business expands worldwide.
Registering your logo as a copyrighted work could be an excellent alternative with much less investment as you only pay once to protect your brand assets in 179 countries.

5. How long does it take to trademark a logo?

It usually takes four to six months to register a trademark from application to grant. However, in complex cases, it can take up to three years. In contrast, when you register your logo as copyright, you get your logo protected in as little as ten to twenty days.

6. What does the process of registration of a trademark involve?

If you are applying for trademark registration, the following steps need to be considered:

  • Before applying for trademark registration for your logo, search your country’s databases to determine if another company is already using a logo that is too similar to the one you want.
  • Once you have determined that your logo is not too similar to another brand’s, you can go ahead and file a trademark application with your local trademark office and wait for the logo to be published or rejected, depending on whether or not it meets the trademark criteria for registration.
  • Hire a professional and experienced local IP consultant to handle all the paperwork and act on your behalf to simplify the process.

7. What if my trademark application is rejected?

There are many reasons why your trademark application may be refused. These include:

  • If your logo is generic – as in, it’s just a common symbol or emoji, or it has a name that could belong to anyone, you probably won’t qualify for a trademark. So, for example, logos representing companies named “Amazing Lawyer” or “Very Good Pizza” will likely not be recognized.
  • There is a high likelihood of confusion, meaning consumers may mistake your logo for an existing registered trademark.
  • Your logo is merely an embellishment and not a legitimate identifying mark
  • Your logo contains offensive wording or imagery (although there are exceptions where this type of material can be registered as a trademark).
  • The logo’s imagery or text is geographically misdescriptive, meaning it falsely implies that your business or product is located in or sourced from a particular place.

If you think the rejection was a mistake, you can file an appeal with the Trademark Office to have the application reconsidered and, ideally, accepted. However, if it turns out that your logo cannot be registered as a trademark, you will need to go back to the drawing board and create a new logo before trying again.

Summary

Your customers recognize your brand by your logo. Protecting it means protecting your corporate identity. The level of protection you need will be determined by the size and scope of your business. Small local brands may not need the hassle of registering a trademark as a logo, but it also becomes more vulnerable to infringement as your business grows.

You can certainly handle the process of registering your logo as a trademark yourself. But working with an IP consultancy can be beneficial, as experienced intellectual property experts can file your trademark application for you and handle all the paperwork for you, saving you time, money, energy, and eliminating the risk of a potential mistake.

INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai was established to help businesses in Dubai understand the process of registering a copyright and other intellectual property rights. We not only provide IP protection services for individuals and businesses but also offer solutions that will allow you to monetize your IP assets boosting your business growth. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.

You’re creative and intelligent – you know what works the best for your artistic endeavours and how to protect them. But copyright law can be a confusing mess of legalese that’s hard to navigate on your own; fortunately, with this helpful guide, we’ll help make the process as easy as possible.

You might be wondering why you would want to bother with copyright law for an issue in your profession. The answer is simple – not to dispute your ownership in courts!

Every creation requires time,  energy, and effort. The time involved varies significantly between projects. It may vary from a  few minutes to a  few years.  Besides,  any creative work also requires a certain amount of real capital and education or knowledge.  All these things add up to a massive investment on the part of any creative professional. The truth is that getting copyright protection for your work can be a confusing process. However, understanding the language of legal jargon and knowing where you stand legally is important, if not essential, to protect that which belongs only to you: your intellectual property rights, as an author or creator with exclusive rightsholders over their original works.

Protect, or not protect, that is a question?

For most artists and creators out there, they must have sufficient knowledge about how they’re protected under the Copyright Law so that no one else other than them, such as middlemen distributors who exploit these valuable creations without giving any form of a credit back, can misuse what rightfully belongs solely to the artist themselves. Copyright protection is your best friend when it comes to protecting from those who infringe your creations.

So, what is that beast, copyright?

Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects only the form of expression, not the idea itself. It provides authors and creators with exclusive rights to their original material to use it or duplicate it without other people being able to do those things for themselves. The reason copyright exists is that some ideas exist independently from any medium (words on paper) in which they’re written down – for example, mathematical formulas – which cannot be protected by traditional forms of Intellectual Property Law such as patents and copyrights.

To be legally protected as a copyrighted work, an object must demonstrate originality and creativity. In other words, the work cannot have been copied from anything else. It also needs to show enough measure of creativity judged by the local court based on merits specific to each case-in-point.

Protecting your creations with copyright may add valuable bonuses:

  • The copyright owner can assign his or her legal rights for authorized use under a licensing agreement to use the work. This means that creators may make money on leasing or selling their intellectual property assets, so now they have an opportunity and motive in creating art.
  • Registering your copyright is a great way to show that you legally own it; if someone violates and steals from you, they could be liable for statutory damages.

Creations that can be protected under © sign in the UAE and worldwide

Determining which particular creation can be copyrighted is difficult. For example, it may help to associate each area with what they protect.

  • If you want to ensure your brand has the protection it deserves, don’t forget that protecting its brand name, brand logo, slogan, and even its original font is just as important. We know how much of an investment a company’s branding can be – so why not put in some extra effort? Protecting what makes your brand unique will help build your reputation for years to come!
  • If you are a gifted author, protect your books with the literary equivalent of Fort Knox. Your work deserves to be protected and preserved for future generations.
  • Tech geeks may protect by copyright law, computer programs, databases, software, and mobile applications games, and other web-related items.
  • All artists in the entertainment industry deserve to be compensated for their work. Copyright laws ensure that they can monetize their work and allow them peace of mind as a result.
  • Graphic artists, designers, and drafters can safely claim intellectual property rights protection in such activities as architecture works, engineering plans and layouts, works of drawing, painting, sculpture, engrave or similar works in the scope of fine arts, photographic works, and works analogously to photography, works of applied and plastic art, illustrations, geographical maps, sketches, three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography and architecture designs.

A brief glimpse into the copyright legal jungle

Copyright protection is automatically granted to authors. The Berne Convention doesn’t impose any mandatory registration procedures on them, which means they don’t need permission from governments or other organizations before publishing their work. The Berne Convention provides copyright protection from the moment you put your original, copyrightable subject matter into a permanent form. Thus, you are protected from plagiarism and lawsuits for copying someone else’s work as soon as it is written down or recorded in any way (even if that recording only exists on paper).

Nevertheless, despite such freedom in registration and discretion in the choice provided by national and international regulation, the protection of the rights of rightsholders can be significantly complicated at the stages of ensuring or enforcing their rights in state courts or official bodies.

Imagine that you are a scientist. You just finished your innovative formula and want to ensure it is protected by Copyright Law. The registration of your work serves as independent proof of the date of its creation. In addition, it provides a way for others to identify who authored the piece by establishing ownership rights over their original idea or expression concerning any other parties interested in using it without consent from both authors first. Without registering this information, rightsholders may find themselves unable to come forward with evidence if someone else steals their idea because they have no formal documentation proving they own exclusive intellectual property concerning said material’s composition – be sure not to let anyone infringe your ideas!

What now? Making sure your copyright is granted by industry experts.

Intellectual Property Law impacts nearly all businesses, small and large. Individuals who create or invent may need to take action, so the law protects their creations.

Registering your copyright with INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai provides additional legal and financial benefits, including:

  • Enforcement of infringed rights in courts or with local authorities;
  • Recovering certain compensation provided by statute, the ability to seek attorneys’ fees if you win a copyright infringement case;
  • Registration serves as conclusive proof that your copyright is valid.

Ready to get started? Our IP Experts are here for you. We’ll take care of the paperwork, so you can focus on your business and what matters most to it.

At the bottom of most websites, you’ve likely seen such terminology as “Copyright 2021, “All Rights Reserved” or “© 2021. This is to inform others that the content they view belongs to website owner and not someone else who may have copied it from somewhere else. Even if you don’t display your own copyright, there’s still protection for what you’ve created as long as nobody can claim ownership over it by proving they made changes or did something new with an old idea.

Including “copyright” at the bottom of every page displays explicitly how people should know where the material came from for credit to be given appropriately.

Registering your intellectual property (IP) will help you to protect it from copyright infringement. You must have proof of ownership. This can be provided by registering your IP rights with authority like a state body or court before they are violated. There are several benefits for doing so:

  • Make your life easier on the stage of enforcing your violated IP rights;
  • Inform everyone who sees your text, photo, and website that this work has an author;
  • Declare your exclusive copyrights to the intellectual property object;
  • Have the ability to set your own rules for commercial and non-commercial use of your product;
  • Have the ability to file a copyright infringement case;
  • Be able to claim for statutory damages and attorney’s fees if a copyright lawsuit is successful.

Which digital assets of the company can be protected under copyright?

What are your digital assets worth? A lot! Even more, than you may think. But not every organization is conscious of that fact, so they’re left unprotected and unable to reap the benefits. If there is a legal dispute about a certain asset, companies need to produce all their documentation showing how valuable these possessions are – from marketing materials down through customer data files and business plans.

  • Company website: The following elements must be protected as copyright: design interface, domain name, source code, database, content, the concept of the website.
  • Software: Accounting software, HR management systems, warehouse management systems, other customized modules of CRM systems.
  • Social media accounts comprise such protectable IP objects as a brand of social media account, subdomain, content.
  • Mobile application (or web application) in most cases consists of the icon of mobile application, source code, design interface of mobile application, database, content, and concept.

Copyright protection is a valuable asset to any company. After all, it can protect those precious digital assets that could be easily copied by others and published elsewhere without the original creator getting their due credit or compensation for the work.

Copyrightable objects must have been fixed in tangible form. Hence, they are safe from being reproduced and used without your consent – but what if you aren’t sure whether something qualifies? You’re not alone: copyright law is complicated enough on its own even before trying to apply these rules online.

Why should you register the domain name of a website as intellectual property?

Be sure not only to protect website content, graphics, and images but also domain name. A domain is a unique identifier on the internet, so it must be protected from third parties. If you want to protect your site from infringers of intellectual property rights such as copyright infringement, then opt for official copyright protection.

Let’s imagine you’ve developed a stellar website with a great domain name, now what? First, you will want to protect your rights. Since the domain name usually coincides with your brand name, domain registration can be carried out economically together with the brand name covered by one Composite Copyright Work. It is a unique and beneficial offer that will protect your brand name and domain against unfair competitors, save your money along with other benefits such as:

  • Ability to obtain an official document constituting your rights to the domain name.
  • Ability to protect your ownership of the domain name as an intellectual property object from illegal use.
  • The ability to get monetary compensation in case of your copyright and proprietary rights to the domain name will be violated by any third parties.
  • Ability to officially sell intellectual property rights on the site and/or domain.

Furthermore, having your domain registered as copyright under your name as an individual, as well as other IP assets, can generate real financial benefits through evaluation procedure and proper build-in structure of licensing your IP rights to your company.

We at INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai offer this unique service for all companies and entrepreneurs willing to protect their digital assets and maximize the value of their business.

How we can help protect your website

Your website is a window to your business, and you need it to be an accurate reflection of the company. However, there are many dangers associated with having one – even though most people don’t think about them until they’re too late. Therefore, you must research before developing or operating your site because if not done properly, you’ll put yourself at risk for intellectual property litigation while also exposing yourself to potential copyright infringement lawsuits by others who want what’s yours.

To avoid such situations, it is important to have a strategy for intellectual property protection. Implementing a strategy that identifies, protects, and exploits the different types of IP in your business is something IP Experts at INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai will do for you at an affordable price and in a professional manner. You’ll never have to worry about your website-related creations again!

Owning one’s trademark and understanding its importance is something all businesses should consider, regardless of whether you’re a small business or a start-up. The growing knowledge economy means intellectual property rights are more important than ever before. New products, brands and creative designs are constantly appearing on the market. However, smaller businesses often cannot afford time, resources, or knowledge about intellectual property rights (IPR).

The brand reputation is on the line!

Brands and businesses need to register their trademarks to protect themselves from unfair competitors who may be benefiting at their expense. For example, if a competitor starts using your business name or slogan for advertising, they could attract customers away or, worse – deliver sub-standard products under your company’s name. To avoid this fate, you should register your trademark as soon as possible so that you can take legal action against any unauthorized use of your brand by others. This will allow your business to preserve its value while also protecting yourself legally if anyone does attempt an infringement.

Registering your trademark can make the difference between being a successful business and one that fails. This is because a registered trademark entitles you to be the sole owner of what is arguably one of an entrepreneur’s most valuable assets – their brand identity.

Registration will also protect your consumers and other businesses. Registering your trademark protects not only the quality of goods or services you offer but will also prove your partners and vendors the authenticity of your brand.

Below you will find these reasons why small business owners and startup companies choose to register their brands as trademarks in the United Arab Emirates:

  1. Legal protection of corporate or product brand.
  2. Receiving bank loans and investments using valued IP assets as a mortgage.
  3. It is attracting an investor, selling a business.
  4. Increasing the authorized capital registered in founding documents (charter, bylaws).
  5. The exploitation of trademark to increase the market value of the business to prove a severe partner status, valuation of IP-assets.
  6. IPR protection for original rightsholder from unfair competitors, third parties, former employees, unethical officials from state bodies.
  7. Prevention of slander, discrediting the business reputation.
  8. Compensation for damages to business reputation due to unfair competition, fraud, and provocations among clients and consumers.
  9. Capitalization of marketing, salaries, PR, consulting expenses to increase value on intangible assets.
  10. Possibility to control of Import and Export operations with goods/products released under registered trademark.
  11. Possibility of scaling of current business under licenses and franchises.
  12. Using trademarks for IPO, ICO (blockchain), IPS (Intellectual Property Sharing).
  13. Possibility of blocking advertising, sales, and confiscation of illegal copies of goods released under registered trademark.
  14. Compliance with local regulation for trademark registrations
  15. Creation of short- and long-term branding, positioning, marketing strategy with an action plan.
  16. Settlements and clearance of financial debts using IP-assets instead of money (debt clearing according to received notifications letter, claims, court decisions, etc.)
  17. Reduction of period costs, optimization of accounting indicators in financial statements (profit increasing, etc.)
  18. Certification of partners, contractors, and other business agents to build up a strong franchise or licensing system based on the trademark.
  19. Creation of flexible, convenient legal system for quick launch and development of cooperation with new business partners.
  20. Justification of large royalties for using IP assets (for banks, investors).
  21. Receiving free support of state bodies for the protection of intellectual property rights.
  22. Creation legal structure and system for secure launching of manufacturing in foreign countries.
  23. Creation of a system of control on the market to identify illegal actions on unfair competitors.

Trademarks are a business’s opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors and help establish an emotional connection with their audience. A trademark can also be used as the foundation of marketing campaigns, which helps promote your brand or product in new ways!

Safeguarding SMEs and startups’ brands in the UAE

From a legal perspective, in the UAE, there are three ways to protect your brand name: trademarks, copyrights and trade names. These tools of protection come from international treaties that provide information about how they should be used.

  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 20 March 1883, known as Paris convention (regulates the application of a trading name as a legal mechanism in terms of brand legal protection).
  • Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks of 14 April 1891, known as Madrid Convention (regulates the application of trademarks as a legal mechanism in terms of brand legal protection).
  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 9 September 1886, known as Berne convention (regulates the application of copyrights as a legal tool in terms of brand legal protection).

The comparison of the mentioned tools, their scope of legal protection and their coverage in law is presented below in a handy table format.

Description Paris Convention Madrid Agreement
1 Full name of international treaty Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
2 Applied Legal instrument for protection Trade name of company Trademark
3 Date of approval 20 March 1883 14 April 1891
4 Date of last amendments  28 September 1979 1 September 2008
6 Type of document Certificate of Incorporation & Trade License Trademark Certificate
7 Language of document Local official language French (prevailing in case of differences in interpretation) and English, officially translated in
Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish
8 Objectives of legal protection Legalizing using of trade name for corporate objectives Ensuring recognition of authorship in the country of registration, legalization of the use of the
development by the author
9 Scope of protection Identical replication in the respective

municipal district of registration

Permits the filing, registration and maintenance of trademark rights in more than one jurisdiction,
provided that the target jurisdiction is a party to the system.
10 Type of brand protection Name Name & Logo
11 Forms of brand Commercial designation,

Registered trade name

Verbal, Visual,

Combined, Digital, etc.

12 Recognition 177 countries 106 countries
13 Registration body Local municipal authorities

 

Relevant Ministry of Economy of the State country
14 Registration period Depends on the local regulations 4 – 6 months
15 Validity of protection According to the local laws & regulations Trademarks – 10 years (if maintenance fees are paid)
16 Who can be an author Authorship is not provided for such types of designations No authorship provided
17 Who can be an owner Legal entity or private entrepreneur Legal entity or private entrepreneur
18 Preliminary search before registration Yes Yes
19 Law enforcement opportunities Municipal authorities & courts Anti-monopoly and judicial authorities
20 Urgent registration Based on local regulation No
21 Guarantee of successful registration Based on local regulation No
22 Most popular registrations Company name,

Private entrepreneur

Name, logo
23 Limitations of protection Limitation according to the specified economic activities provided in MOA, AOA Limitation by classes (branches)
24 Free administrative support from government No Yes
25 Free expert support in case of violation No No
26 Free confirmation about status of IP rights in case of requests from courts, prosecution bodies,
etc.
No Yes
27 Types of responsibilities for violators Forced changing of a company name Fines and confiscation of goods is possible by law, but cases of practical law enforcement are extremely
rare
28 Documents for registration (application) According to the local laws & regulations

 

1.     Certificate of incorporation

2.     Power of attorney for a legal representative (patent attorney)

3.     Proof of state fee payment

4.     Object description

5.     Certificate of the position of the head according to the MOA, AOA

6.     List of industries (classes) to be used

7.     Address for correspondence

29 Requirements for mandatorily using According to the local laws & regulations

 

Yes
30 Requirements for recording in accounting balance sheets as intangible assets No Yes
31 Legal protection procedure 1.     Creation of a company name

2.     Preliminary search

3.     Filling an application for the designated company name

4.     Booking a company name

5.     Registration as a company

6.     Trade license issuance

1.     Search & Clearance of the Trademark

2.     Preparation of an application

3.     Submission of an application

4.     Confirmation of Filing & Monitoring Status

5.     Issuance of the trademark registration certificate

32 Online access to information about protected IP-rights Local laws

(in the UAE does not exist an integrated database of trade names)

Not in all countries (not available in the UAE)

Dates of joining by countries

1 China March 19, 1985 December 1, 1995 October 15, 1992
2 Egypt July 1, 1951 September 3, 2009 June 7, 1977
3 Germany May 1, 1903 March 20, 1996 December 5, 1887
4 India December 7, 1998 July 8, 2013 April 1, 1928
5 Jordan July 17, 1972 Not a member July 28, 1999
6 Kuwait December 2, 2014 Not a member December 2, 2014
7 Lebanon September 1, 1924 Not a member September 30, 1947
8 Libya September 28, 1976 Not a member September 28, 1976
9 Nigeria September 2, 1963 Not a member September 14, 1993
10 Pakistan July 22, 2004 Not a member July 5, 1948
11 Russia July 1, 1965 June 10, 1997 March 13, 1995
12 Saudi Arabia March 11, 2004 Not a member March 11, 2004
13 Syria September 1, 1924 August 5, 2004 June 11, 2004
14 Turkey October 10, 1925 January 1, 1999 January 1, 1952
15 United Arab Emirates September 19, 1996 Not a member July 14, 2004
16 United Kingdom July 7, 1884 December 1, 1995 December 5, 1887
17 United States May 30, 1887 November 2, 2003 March 1, 1989

How we can help startups and SMEs to protect their trademarks

Developing a strong, recognizable and reputable brand has never been more important in today’s fast-growing competitive world. Our INTEROCO Copyright Office Dubai team can help small businesses and startups wisely invest their time or resources into building an identifiable trademark powerful enough to protect you from others trying to take credit for your hard work.

Registering your trademark in the UAE can be a long process that takes up to 6 months. Don’t waste time and miss out on opportunities! Let us help you register your trademark, so it’s protected before someone else does.

Our experienced and trusted IP professionals will help you safeguard your company’s brands, which is the first step to creating strong and undeniable value for your business. Today, get in touch with our talented team of IP Experts who can create an optimal IP Capitalization Strategy that allows you to rise above your competitors on the revenue chart!