United Arab Emirates

As the United Arab Emirates approaches its golden jubilee this year, it has also reached the UAE Vision 2021 milestone. Launched in 2010, the Vision aims to promote domestic innovation and the transition to an entrepreneurial, knowledge-based economy. Traditionally, local practitioners have been heavily invested in inbound patent work; however, times are changing and outbound work is now more prevalent as Emirati inventors become more prolific. This has had a positive impact on filing numbers and led to sophisticated prosecution instructions for the country’s attorneys. From a legislative standpoint, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Patent Office no longer receives new filings for GCC patent applications as of 6 January 2021, following a GCC Supreme Council meeting the previous day. With the help of IAM listed practitioners, those looking to protect their rights must now file their applications directly with the respective GCC state’s patent office.

Firms

Al Tamimi & Company

A force to be reckoned with, Al Tamimi & Company dispenses technically sound, business-savvy legal advice across the patent lifecycle from 17 offices across nine jurisdictions in the Middle East and North Africa. The side has continued on its stellar growth trajectory over the past 12 months, with the dynamic Ahmad Saleh leading by example. “One of the country’s foremost IP experts and a highly skilled attorney”, Saleh not only is a trained engineer, but is also admitted to the Quebec bar and has rights of audience before the local courts, ensuring that he can provide 360-degree counsel to the private and government entities he assists. For domestic companies looking to establish a presence in Europe and China, and vice versa, Xiaodi Wang is the perfect fit; the Chinese, European and German patent attorney and tech whizz has a keen eye for worldwide filing strategies.

Cedar White Bradley 

From ideation to creation and in enforcement and monetisation, Cedar White Bradley acquits itself with distinction. The regional outfit utilises everything in its IP toolkit to drive the right results for clients and does so in a straightforward, yet budget-friendly manner that appeals to in-house counsel. Forming the A-team are David Harper and Richard Gaugeler. Department head Harper draws judiciously on over a decade of local experience in managing large portfolios and devising multi-jurisdictional enforcement strategies. One of Gaugeler’s key strengths is his flair for drafting and prosecuting patents at the EPO and the USPTO; he is always looks to enhance the value of patrons’ assets in both the short and long term.

Clyde & Co LLP

Globally recognised firm Clyde & Co maintains a pristine reputation in the United Arab Emirates thanks to its holistic IP practice. The group takes pride in its creative approach and intimate understanding of clients’ businesses – it recently developed its own innovation strategy and has an innovation board to assist the companies it serves with the specific challenges they face in their respective industries. Its extensive office network, both regionally and further afield, is a major boon to those with cross-border interests – for example, the Dubai, Dar es Salaam and Shanghai outposts recently collaborated to assist Kopa Technologies in the sale of its technology assets in one of the largest-ever pure private equity investment deals in the clean cooking sector. Department captain Joycia Young took the lead on this matter; the strategic counsellor and transactions lawyer has razor-sharp negotiation skills which create the IP value that companies seek.

Gowling WLG

When it comes to quality and client service, Gowling WLG exceeds expectations on all fronts; and with support from the teams in Canada, China, Russia and Singapore, it can offer perfectly tailored advice in cross-border scenarios. On the ground, the patent team is in fine fettle: the squad is as busy as ever with prosecution, while sophisticated instructions on the contentious side are pouring in too. Recent highlights include assisting a North American oil and gas company with its filings in Kuwait and partnering with a European vehicle manufacturer on a significant filing programme covering the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Jon Parker was instrumental to those operations. “Knowledgeable, reliable and super helpful”, Parker needs no introduction as one of the brightest, most personable advocates in the jurisdiction. The firm also recently welcomed Tamara El-Shibib to the fold. The technology transfer specialist has a unique background as the former IP portfolio lead at the Qatar Foundation, which she leverages superbly to get lucrative licensing deals over the line. “The combination of El-Shibib’s legal knowledge, business sense and understanding is impressive. She is the ideal partner for start-ups and innovators,” enthuses one happy client.

Rouse

“The attention to detail and personal touch that clients receive from Rouse make the firm stand out from its competitors.” Its commitment to excellence is apparent in every brief it takes on and its internal infrastructure is designed to help realise the ambitions of corporations looking to cement their position throughout the region. “One of the top patent experts in the Middle East and an exceptional strategist”, Sara Holder takes the reins of the patent and technology division. Qualified in New Zealand and armed with a degree in biochemistry, Holder provides sage advice that is both technically brilliant and commercially on-point to several household names. For cutting-edge players across the industry spectrum, Paul Muscat has got all bases covered; he has a knack for understanding complex technologies and guides clients effortlessly through tricky practicalities.

Other recommended experts

Settling in to his newly founded boutique Deans IP, Rob Deans has up-to-the-minute knowledge of IP developments in the region and is often called on for high-level strategic counsel.

Individuals

  • Sara Holder - Rouse
  • Jon Parker - Gowling WLG
  • Ahmad Saleh - Al Tamimi & Company
  • Rob Deans - Deans IP
  • Tamara El-Shibib - Gowling WLG
  • Richard Gaugeler - Cedar White Bradley
  • David Harper - Cedar White Bradley
  • Paul Muscat - Rouse
  • Xiaodi Wang - Al Tamimi & Company
  • Joycia Young - Clyde & Co LLP