It’s impossible to not drool over Emirati cuisines. From popular Madrouba to traditional Tahta Malih to finger-lickingly scrumptious Harees to classic world-famous Shawarma, Dubai’s versatile drool-worthy food menu can tickle you pink even in your worst mood. Thanks to the ever-growing food business in Dubai, UAE! Staples of Emirati cuisine include meat, fish, and rice, with lamb and mutton being the more favoured meats; tea and coffee are the preferred beverages, spiced up with cardamom, saffron, and mint for a characteristic flavour. Despite being situated on infertile sands and salty waters; UAE is able to provide its inhabitants everything which is essential to living a luxurious life. Thanks to globalisation that nations can import and export the items to one another they lack or surpass in respectively. GCC nations, specifically the United Arab Emirates, import food and beverage items from the world over for consumption purposes, making this part of the world the most preferred location amongst exporters worldwide for food supplies.

Food Imports in Dubai, UAE

UAE, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, at present imports about 90% of its necessities. Dubai alone imported eight million tonnes of food in 2021, revealed Dubai Municipality to WAM. It’s easy to see why food imports are thriving in the emirate. Not only does Dubai receive millions of tourists from across the world every year but also ambitious individuals who are nurturing a dream in their hearts to live and work in the city that is home to tons of business opportunities. Despite being the most favoured location in the world to do business, Dubai alone cannot produce enough food to lavishly feed its population that consists of about 90 per cent expats. That’s why new as well as world-renowned food brands are entering the UAE market making the business environment more competitive. You won’t regret it if you are planning to open a restaurant or cafeteria in Dubai. Every year, the UAE government hosts ‘Gulfood’, the world’s largest annual food and beverage exhibition where importers and exporters from around the world gather to explore new possibilities in the potential food market of the UAE. Food comprises the commodities in SITC sections 0 (food and live animals), 1 (beverages and tobacco), and 4 (animal and vegetable oils and fats) and SITC division 22 (oil seeds, oil nuts, and oil kernels).

Why should I trademark my food brand in the UAE?

Excellent food is something that gives one a multisensory experience: fuming aroma defying gravity to reach the nose, playful textures fulminating in the mouth, a surprising combination of flavours lasting on the palate. Without a doubt, taste matters a lot, when it comes to foods. But there is one more thing that matters way more than the taste of the food, and that is “quality”. Therefore, maintaining the quality of the food in the UAE is as important as the taste of the food.

And to certify the quality of your food brand, you must affix a trademark to it. Whether you are a new entrant in the UAE food sector or you have an established brand, trademark specialists in the UAE advise the food businesses to register a trademark in the UAE. A registered trademark of a food company or food business is its prime component, as it’s the trademark registration that makes your food product stand out in the crowd of similar food products offered by other competitors in the market. Trademark registration not only provides reputation and recognition to your food brand but also builds trust between your company and audiences, as well as your investors. Once you successfully establish your brand, it simplifies your as well as your customers’ life. They blindly trust your brand and make it a part of their routine. For instance, Nestle, Cadbury and Maggi are some of the well-established popular food brands, and you can find them in almost every household.

What is a brand and what role does it play in the food business?

Not every customer has time to scan through thousands of products aisle by aisle in a supermarket nearby. That’s where brands come into the picture. Picking a branded product over the competition is a matter of seconds because the customer knows it’s trademarked, and they can count on the company with their eyes closed. Plus, they are steeled to pay a premium price for it. Simply put, a brand is a promise made by the company to its customers that the product bearing the brand name is “special” in every way – be it utility, packaging, taste, or whatever. And once the merchandise proves to be special, as committed, the consumers become loyal and refer the same to their acquaintances. To establish a food brand, foremost, you must determine your “frame of reference”. What does your brand mean? What is the mission statement of your food business? Whom do you see as your consumer? Study the flavour, ingredients, packaging or production style of your food commodity and how those might influence customer behaviour. And once all the analysis is performed, work around highlighting your unique selling points and benefits (social, emotional & functional) to set apart the brand in the crowded retail shelf.

What is “Trademark”?

Essentially a brand name, symbol, or logo, a trademark is a registered identity given to specific products and services through certain visuals in the form of a name, words, signature, letter, symbol, drawing, figure, inscription, image or advertisement so the supplies can be distinguished amongst the competitors’ offerings. A trademarked brand indicates that it belongs to a certain owner or is coming from a particular source. There are myriad advantages of registering trademarks in the UAE, from protecting the brand from being copied by competitors to ensuring the quality of the products to strengthening the trust for the merchandise amongst customers and clients. The UAE’s Ministry of Economy is the governing body that regulates the registration, renewal and cancellation of trademarks for businesses in the UAE. The Food Safety Department at Dubai Municipality is responsible for the registration of food products under the Food Control Department. This is performed through the Food Import Re-export Service (FIRS) online portal system at Dubai Municipality (DM).

What is the significance of food brand trademarking in Dubai, UAE?

They say we eat with our eyes foremost. Brand trademarking can be seen before the food item itself in the wraps. Today’s users are conscious buyers, they notice everything that makes the product they choose worth purchasing such as ingredients, expiration date, and most importantly “the brand”. If you already have afood business in Dubaior any part of the UAE, you might be knowing how crucial it is to register the food and beverage products you are offering to the consumers. To ensure the food that reaches people is safe and healthy, the Dubai Government has mandated the registration of every food product with the Dubai Municipality before it makes its way to the market. Food trademark registration assures customers that food is coming from a reliable source and safe to consume. Plus, it gives the food business a competitive advantage and raises the product’s worth in the market, which eventually leads to profit maximisation. All in all, food brand trademarking pleases the users by adding value to the items they want. Unlike unregistered trademark owners, registered trademark owners have more noteworthy rights and protection under trademark law.

What is UAE trademark registration?

To stand today’s cut-throat competition, businesses must go for trademark registration. Helpful in advertising products and providing information about their quality, a trademark is a valuable asset for any company. It grants a company exclusive rights to use, distribute, and assign a trademark. A personification of the company’s success and identity, a trademark may fortify a lot of goodwill over time. The worth of a company’s brand is substantially magnified through trademark registration. Trademark registration is the best way to deter others from advantaging from your name or brand. In any part of the UAE, trademark registration is an indispensable aspect of initiating a business.

Under Article 2 of UAE Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 on Trademarks, a trademark is defined as anything featuring a distinctive form such as names, words, signatures, letters, figures, drawings, logos, titles, hallmarks, seals, pictures, engravings, advertisements, packs or any other mark or group of marks, used to differentiate goods, products or services from other competitors, and is used to demonstrate that the goods or services belong to the trademark’s owner.

What is the trademark registration fee in the UAE?

To complete the UAE trademark registration process, you are required to pay the requested fees after the submission of your trademark application. Applicants will need to pay AED 8,700 for the trademark or brand registration in the UAE. This trademark registration cost in the UAE does not include any legal and translation fees that you may have to pay. Applicants can pay trademark registration in the UAE cost through the Ministry of Economy website itself.

The UAE keeps revising the UAE trademark fees. The new fees after the recent reduction done on 5 April 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic include – AED 350 for Trademark Search; AED 750 for Application Filing; AED 750 for Publication in Official Gazette; AED 5000 for Registration fees. The Ministry of Economy has slashed the official fees for trademark opposition from AED 10,000 to AED 7,500 which is a piece of good news for the brand owners who are seeking to enforce their rights in the UAE by forbidding others from registering similar or identical trademarks, intentionally or unintentionally.

What are the steps to register a food brand trademark in UAE?

Having your food brand registered under the UAE Trademark Law is as easy as ABC. Just follow the below-mentioned five steps and voilà! If at any point in time you feel the need for a professional trademark attorney’s help, we are just a click away.

  1. Pick a Unique Name for Branding of Your Food Item: Be it you or your business, it all starts with a name. The only difference is you can’t trademark your name but your business’s. Choose an uncommon name for your business, product, or both, keeping its advertising part in mind. To steer clear of the inconvenience caused due to trademark application cancellation later, make sure the name you choose is original and not identical to an existing trademark. It’s a completely unique mark that receives legal protection under trademark law up to the hilt.
  2. Perform Trademark Search: After deciding on an appropriate name for your food brand or business, the next step is to perform a comprehensive trademark search, which ensures that the chosen name is not already being used by any other similar businesses that are offering comparable food types. The intent behind conducting a trademark search is to debar the registration of a similar or identical mark in the same product category. Registration of similar trademarks may confuse the target audience, therefore checking that the selected brand name doesn’t exist already is of utmost importance. A qualified trademark lawyer or IP professional is the best way to perform a trademark search.
  3. File Trademark Application: After ascertaining the name of your brand belongs to nobody else in your business sphere, it’s time to duly fill and submit a trademark application. The application features several fields asking for the details of the food product you’re offering. You have to choose the exact class of goods as per your food product under which you can file your trademark application. When applying for registration, you’ll need some documents such as Power of Attorney, Sample of Trademark Design, Trade Licence, List of Goods & Services to be Protected, Contact Details of the Applicant, Identity Card or Passport of the person who will sign the Application. A professional trademark attorney in Dubai can help you determine the correct category of goods for your trademark application.
  4. Wait for approval from the Ministry of Economy: The trademark application once submitted is scrutinised by the UAE Ministry of Economy. The review is undertaken in line with the governing laws of UAE Federal Trademark Law No. 37 of 1992. After all the necessary procedures are done, the Ministry of Economy will register the trademark you have applied for.
  5. Receive the Trademark Certificate: In the final step, the Ministry of Economy grants a Trademark Certificate to the applicant after successful registration of the trademark in the register of trademarks. The certificate includes important information about the registered product, such as
  • Trademark registration number
  • The business as well as the owner’s name
  • Date of trademark registration
  • Copy of trademark
  • The trademark itself, along with the description of the food commodity that falls under it

How can you help me regarding me?

Even a single error or mistake in the trademark registration application form may result in the trademark’s non-acceptance. No wonder, most business persons, new or seasoned, prefer appointing a trademark lawyer or IP attorney for their brand trademark registration in Dubai, UAE. Trademark registration of your brandcan be an easy breeze with the help of our experienced trademark lawyer at Adam Global Dubai. Not only food business, but our trademark lawyer can also help you in the trademark registration of any business in the UAE – from a beauty salon to real estate business to e-commerce company to supermarket to recycling unit to digital marketing firm. You may find your IP advisor in one of the best business setup consulting firms in Dubai, such as Adam Global. We are home to not only business advisorsand visa, accounting, finance & taxation professionals who are worth their salt in their respective fields but also intellectual property attorneys who can help you register your trademark in the UAE concerning your products and services while ensuring that all legal requirements are fulfilled.

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