Thursday 12 October 2023

WIPO Design Law Treaty Diplomatic Conference to Take Place in Saudi Arabia

Author Emmanuel Berrod Licence CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed Source Wikimedia Commons

A diplomatic conference is a meeting of representatives of governments that are negotiating the terms of an international agreement. On 21 July 2022, the WIPO General Assembly voted to convene a diplomatic conference to conclude and adopt a Design Law Treaty before the end of 2024.  On 9 Oct 2023, the Preparatory Committee of the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude and Adopt a Design Law Treaty agreed to hold the conference in Riyadh between 11 and 22 Nov 2023 (see Saudi Arabia Set to Host 2024 Diplomatic Conference to Conclude Design Law Treaty PR/2023/909 9 Oct 2023).

Although countries that belong to the World Trade Organization are bound by arts 25 and 26 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS") to protect new or original industrial designs for at least 10 years and the Hague Agreement facilitates international design registration, the requirements for registration vary considerably from country to country.   The Design Law Treaty is intended to iron out those differences.   A draft of the proposed Treaty and its Regulations have been circulating for some time.  According to the WIPO press release,, the Treaty should make it significantly easier for designers and small and medium-sized enterprises to register their designs.

The new Treaty coincides with the Commission's proposals for a new Designs Directive to replace Directive 98/71/EC and amendments to the Community Design Regulation which I shall discuss in detail in NIPC News and IP after Brexit.,

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during UK office hours or send me a message through my contact page.

Saturday 8 April 2023

IPO Guidance on the Gulf Cooperation Council

 Logo of Gulf Cooperation Council

Jane Lambert

On 6 April 2023 the UK Intellectual Property Office ("the IPO") circulated an email headed "Are you a UK business trading in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)? Or thinking of doing so?" to its mailing list, The email announced that the IPO had published guidance to help businesses navigate the IP regimes in each of the six GCC member states providing information on the main IP rights and where to go for further guidance,  It added that the GCC was the UK's 7th largest export market worth £33.1 billion in 2021, that the UK has a longstanding relationship with the GCC, particularly in areas like technology, life sciences, creative industries, financial services and education, and that intellectual property will play a vital role in securing British ambitions in the region.

International IP Service

A button on the email connects to a web page on the British government's website headed Collection International IP Service with the strapline "Protecting your trade marks, patents, designs and copyright abroad" which was first published on 20 Aug 2021 and last updated on 10 March 2023.  It begins with a general observation:

"Intellectual property rights are territorial. You should consider getting IP protection if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet. Start by developing an international strategy, identifying your markets, business goals and resources."

 I would endorse that advice adding only that an international strategy is an aspect of an IP strategy which is something that every business should develop whether an individual on his or her first day in business or a mighty multinational  (see What is an Intellectual Property Strategy? 19 May 2017 last updated 8 April 2023).  I could help with that as I have many years experience of advising on IP strategy and have written many articles on the topic.

Top Tip

I would also endorse the IPO's "Top Tip":

"Know before you go. Wherever you want to do business, it is important that you understand the steps you should take to protect your IP before entering the market. It is a lot easier to jump over any hurdles before realising it might be too late to act. You will also need to do some research to make sure you’re not infringing someone else’s IP."

Meet the Experts: Yamesh Yaqoob

The next link introduces our IP attachés which are listed on a separate Attaché contact details page.  Our main in the GCC countries is Mr Yamish Yaqoob whose appointment I reported in UK's New Intellectual Property Attache to the GCC on 27 Oct 2021.  The section on Mr Yaqoob states:

"Focus on the GCC: Yamish provides guidance to UK stakeholders in the GCC region on how to effectively protect and manage their IP assets. He also works closely with regional IPOs and official authorities on outreach and awareness raising of the value of IP. Yamish will input on IP in a Free Trade Agreement with the GCC, to further build bilateral cooperation within the GCC on IP practice and policy. Currently, he is also working in close collaboration with the Saudi IP authority on delivering a joint work plan aimed at improving the local IP ecosystem."
IP Country Guides

The International IP Service page links to a list of IP Country Guides.  These include guides on:

Each of those guides was published on 2 March 2023 and follows a similar format.  There are passages on trade marks, patents, designs, copyright, enforcement and sources of further information.

The guidance on the UAE fails to mention the English speaking common law jurisdictions in the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Dubai International Financial Centre free zones.  I have discussed the DIFC courts extensively in this publication and I introduced the Abu Dhabi Global Market legal system in Abu Dhabi Global Market - Yet Another Common Law Enclave in the Gulf on 22 Feb 2016.  It is worth remembering that the DIFC has its own intellectual property legislation which I mentioned in Introduction to, and Overview of, the New DIFC Intellectual Property Law on 13 Dec 2019.  The DIFC courts have always had jurisdiction to hear and determine breach of confidence and passing off and there seems to be no reason in principle why they should not grant injunctions, delivery up of infringing matter and pecuniary relief for infringements of the DIFC Intellectual Property Law.  Having said that, the Law establishes an Intellectual Property Commissioner with extensive powers to resolve IP disputes.

There is a similar English speaking common law jurisdiction at the Qatar Financial Centre known as the  Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre which I discussed in Qatar Financial Centre: Civil and Commercial Court Regulations on 28 June 2011 and subsequent articles.  The IPO guidance on Qatar does not mention that court or legal system.

Any member of the Bar of England and Wales in good standing can quickly be granted rights of audience in any of those courts.  The procedural law and practice of all three courts are modelled on the English Civil Procedure Rules.  Much of the substantive law is also modelled on British statutes or codifications of English case law. Some of the litigation is conducted online which means that members of the English bar can represent parties from their chambers in London or even their homes elsewhere in the UK. 

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact page.

Monday 27 February 2023

The Oman Commercial Arbitration Centre

Mr James Bridgeman SC


Jane Lambert

I am delighted to report that my friend and colleague, James Bridgeman SC, will give a talk entitled  "Commencing an International Arbitration under the laws of England & Wales" n the Muscat Hall of the Oman Commercial Arbitration Centre ("OCAC") between 10:30 and 13:30 tomorrow.  James is a member of my chambers and a silk of the Republic of Ireland Bar.   He is also a member of the Bars of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, a past President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and an accredited mediator.  He sits on several dispute resolution panels including the arbitration and domain name dispute resolution panels of the World Intellectual Property Organization. 

Oman is the latest member state of the Gulf Cooperation Council to establish an international dispute resolution centre.  The United Arab Emirates has the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts and the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Courts, Qatar has the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre and Bahrain has the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution.   The OCAC was founded by Royal Decree 26/2018  dated 17 Oct 2018.   The Centre is governed by Regulations issued by the Board of Directors Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce pursuant to art 2 of the Royal Decree. 

The Centre was set up to encourage investment in accordance with Oman's 2040 Vision.  It offers arbitration, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution through its panellists.  Its arbitration and mediation rules are published on its website.  OCAC also trains arbitrators in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and mediators in collaboration with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution ("CEDR").  Photos of its hearing and meeting rooms, hire charges and other costs appear on the OCAC's website.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me during UK office hours or send me a message through my contact form. 

Wednesday 19 October 2022

The DIFC Courts' Space Dispute Guide

Standard YouTube Licence

On 18 Nov 2017, I introduced Dubai's Courts of the Future Initiative.  That initiative has two projects:
I discussed the DIFC Space Courts on 10 Feb 2021.  An international expert working group will explore space-related legal innovations and consider potential space-related disputes and the likely outcomes in a Space Dispute Guide.  The foreword to that guide explains that it was prepared to demonstrate the type of disputes that the DIFC Courts expect to decide. They include disputes between states, space agencies, businesses and individuals over the manufacture, launch, navigation, and re-entry of a space object arising out of contract, tort, legislation or treaty.  The guide discusses two possible disputes,  One is between a company and a state over damage to a satellite caused by space debris. The other is about the liability of parties to a launch contract after the insolvency of a bank that agreed to guarantee the transaction.

Anybody wishing to discuss this article may call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during normal UK office hours or message me through my contact page at other times.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Science and Innovation Network in Saudi Arabia

Jane Lambert


Earlier today I wrote about Yamish Yakoob's appointment as the first British intellectual property attaché to the Gulf Cooperation Council or "GCC" (see UK's New Intellectual Property Attache to the GCC 27 April 2021).  I posted Mr Yakoob's contact details at the British embassy in Riyadh but forgot to check whether our embassy has a website and I have discovered that it does (British embassy website).   It also has some information about a lot of useful services in Saudi Arabia and the GCC which merit this postscript.

Science & Innovation Network in Saudi Arabia

The Science and Innovation Network in Saudi Arabia is part of a wider network of approximately 110 officers in over 40 countries and territories around the world who are building partnerships and collaborations in science and innovation.  According to the network's website, it has 3 officers covering all 6 GCC countries. The head of the network in the GCC, who is referred to curiously as "the Head of SIN (Gulf)", is based in Doha.  The officials in Saudi Arabia are based at the British embassy in Riyadh.

The Network's Objectives in Saudi Arabia

According to the network's website, its officials in Saudi Arabia are working on the following objectives
  • "Establishing the UK as Saudi Arabia’s pivotal partner of choice in science and innovation.
  • Supporting the Saudi Arabia in enhancing their resilience and security by addressing long-term threats, including emerging health issues and global challenges on water and food security, as well as through building their capacity to deliver evidence-based policies.
  • Increasing trade and investment cooperation in education, healthcare, infrastructure, water, clean energy, cyber security, Science and Innovation – working on higher education, collaborating with the British Council and the Gulf Science and Innovation, Knowledge and Economy programme.
  • Broadening security cooperation between the UK and Saudi Arabia – keeping Britain, and our interests, safe.
  • Strengthening bilateral relationship through engagement on science and innovation.
  • Helping Saudi Arabia to deliver commitments made at COP 22.
  • Helping Saudi Arabia with Vision 2030 and achieving economic diversification.
  • Engaging with the next generation of thinkers.
  • Helping Saudi Arabia to deliver on G20 commitments."

The website states that the officials in Saudi Arabia are focusing on the following priorities:
  • "Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
  • Genomics and Precision Medicine.
  • Food Security
  • Cyber and ICT
  • Clean and Renewable Energy
  • Future/SMART Cities"
Possible Overlap

The reference to "SMART Cities" reminds me of the work on SMART Towns carried out by the Enterprise Hub (Yr Hwb Menter) at the Menai Science Park in North Wales. There may be scope for fruitful collaboration between Welsh and Saudi collaborators in that field.   


The network has produced the following snapshot of its work in Saudi Arabia.

Further Information

I have summarized the links in the following table:

British Embassy in Saudi Arabia

UK Science & Innovation Network In Saudi Arabia

UK Science & Innovation Network Country Snapshot

British embassy Facebook page

UK Science & Innovation Network Twitter stream

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during UK business hours or send me a message at any time through my contact form.

UK's New Intellectual Property Attache to the GCC

Map indicating GCC members
Author Furfur Licence CC BY-SA 4.0 Source Wikimedia Commons

The British government has signalled the importance of the Gulf Cooperation Council ("GCC") as a trading and investment partner by appointing Yamish Yakoob as its first Intellectual Property Attaché to the bloc (see the IPO's Case Study IP Attaché: Yamish Yakoob, Gulf Cooperation Council 7 Oct 2021 IPO website). Yakoob's appointment increases the number of IP attachés to 7.  The others are in North AmericaSouth-East AsiaChinaBrazilIndia and Geneva (see Guidance Attaché contact details 7 Oct 2021 IPO website).

I first learnt about the work of our attachés when I chaired meetings for Tom Duke and Monica Su at the studios of Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre in Leeds and the Business Village in Barnsley on 19 Sept 2018 (see Meet our IP Attaché to China 21 July 2017 IP Yorkshire). At those meetings, our representatives met business leaders and IP practitioners from the Leeds and Sheffield city regions.  

Yakoob was educated at the International Indian School and Asan Memorial College from where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration and economics.  He has spent the greater part of his career in the consular service as a trade and investment advisor between 2004 and 2018 at the British Consulate-General. Since 2018 he has served in the diplomatic service as Senior Trade Advisor - Creative (Culture, Sport and Tourism) at our embassy in Riyadh. He speaks Arabic, Hindi, Malayalam. Tamil and Urdu as well as English.

He can be contacted at the British embassy in Riyadh at 
Abdullah Alsahmi Street,
Near Circle 10,
As Safarat
Al Safarat,
Saudi Arabia.
Tel: +966 (0)11 481 9100 and

I congratulate Yamish Yakoob on his appointment and wish him every success.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article can call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during normal business hours or send me a message through my contact form.


In view of the worldwide interest in this post, I have added a short postscript on the work of the UK's Science & Innovation Network in Saudi Arabia and other GCC states with some useful links. Mr Yakoob is likely to be closely involved in the Network's activities.

Saturday 2 October 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai Association Rights

Author SumikashaC Licence CC BY-SA 4.0 Source Wikimedia 

Expo 2020 Dubai opened on 1 Oct 2021. It should have taken place between 20 Oct 2020 and 10 April 2021 but, like the Tokyo Olympics, it was postponed for a year because of the pandemic.  As it happens, International Expos have a lot in common with the Olympic Games. They attract visitors from all parts of the world. They require lavish sponsorship.  They are regulated by ithe Bureau International des Expositions much in the way that the Games are regulated by the International Olympic Committee.

Like the Olympics and other major sporting events, their funding is vulnerable to ambush marketing.  The booklet, Expo 2020 Dubai Brand Protection Guidelinesdescribes ambush marketing as "the act of creating a false or unauthorized association with an event, whether intentional or not." It effectively gives worldwide publicity to the ambushers for nothing.

The right to associate with a major sporting event or Expo is called an "association right" and it is regarded as an intellectual property right (see para 16.1 (6) of the Part 63 Practice Direction).  I discussed the legislation that protected the rights of the International Olympic Committee and the London Organizing Committee in Olympics Association Right and London Olympics Association Right on 31 July 2012 in NIPC Law.  Similar legislation has been enacted for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 which I mentioned in Guidance on Birmingham Commonwealth Games Association Right on 10 Aug 2021 in NIPC West Midlands.

The marks that are protected in the United Arab Emirates include the composite word and device marls of the Bureau International des Expositions and Expo 2020 Dubai. Images of those marks appear on pages 11 to 13 and 16 of the booklet. The booklet suggests that neither the Emirati nor the Dubai government has enacted special legislation to protect those marks or association rights. The intellectual property rights that are mentioned on page 19 are trade marks and copyright. I discussed the relevant legislation in UAE Trade Mark Law on 30 May 2013 and copyright and related rights on 4 Jan 2012 and 11 Feb 2012.

The booklet does not mention the courts in which infringement proceedings would be brought. It is assumed that these will be the civil courts in Dubai. As an intellectual property law has been enacted for the Dubai International Financial Centre. it may also be possible for sponsors to seek relief in the Centre's English speaking common law courts (see  Introduction to, and Overview of, the New DIFC Intellectual Property Law 11 Dec 2019).  An advantage of that jurisdiction is that the DIFC provides a remedy for passiong off (see The DIFC Law of Passing-Off  7 April 2012).

Changing the subject, almost every country in the world seems to be represented with its own pavilion in Dubai including very small states such as Monaco and the Holy See.  The British pavilion seems particularly lavish.   A day ticket to the Expo costs 95 UAE dirhams which is just under £20 and children, students, seniors and "people of determination" get in for free.  That compares very favourably to the Roman remains in Bath, an important tourist attraction in this country. 

Anyone wishing to discuss this article can call me on  +44 (0)20 7504 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.