Tuesday, 11 September 2012 07:00

UAE - Would DIFC assume Jurisdiction over IP Disputes?

On October 31, 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai Emirate, issued a new decree giving all types of business establishments the right to use the special court system of Dubai Intellectual Financial Center (DIFC) for settlement of commercial disputes. The DIFC was established in 2004 as a free zone with special court system. Prior to the present decree, the jurisdiction of the DIFC was limited to commercial disputes involving the DIFC itself any of its bodies or establishments operating within it.


Following the new decree, which has amended the Dubai Law No. 12/2004 regulating the jurisdiction of the DIFC courts, all business establishments and parties operating in Dubai may resource to the jurisdiction of the DIFC for resolving their business disputes. Based on this change of the law and extension of the DIFC court jurisdictions, parties to the various commercial agreements may include provisions in their contracts and agreements vesting the jurisdiction over disputes in the DIFC courts. Even in the absence of such provisions, parties to such disputes may agree to resort to these courts at any time. The parties may choose the language of the litigation from among Arabic and English and whether they wish their dispute procedures and substance to be conducted under the civil law or common law.

In view of the said extension of the jurisdiction of the DIFC courts, we believe that parties to disputes involving intellectual property rights would be able to recourse to the DIFC court system as well. This is strongly recommend in light of the fact that the judges sitting in the DIFC courts include international and highly experienced judges and that in many instances IP disputes could involve some international law issues.

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