Saturday, 15 January 2011

Why Dubai? Or the rest of the Gulf for that matter?

The Bar Council has sent three missions to the Gulf since 2008:
Those missions have focused on construction, financial services, company and insolvency work and on the opportunities offered by the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) Courts and the Qatar Financial Centre Civil and Commercial Court. None of the missions has included members of the intellectual property bar which is hardly surprising since none of the cases that have been decided by the Dubai and Qatar courts has turned on intellectual property.

However things may be changing. Madeleine Heal has discussed proposals for a new intellectual property code and a specialist intellectual property tribunal for the DIFC in Proposed DIFC Intellectual Property laws – A Hub for Innovation. The development of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City and Education City in Qatar and the Qatar Science and Technology Park will attract investment from around the world. Equally, businesses, universities and research institutes in those centres generate intellectual assets that will require legal protection around the world. There will inevitably be disputes and differences which will need to be resolved locally.

As Madeleine said in her article the English Bar can help with that. I have already helped to decide the domain name dispute as a neutral (WIPO case D2005-0309 Jazeera Space Channel TV Station v. AJ Publishing aka Aljazeera Publishing). I hope to do more work as an advocate and advisor as well as arbitrator and mediator in the region. Also, as the Gulf falls midway between manufacturers in India and China and mineral and agricultural commodity producers in Southern and East Africa and also between the financial centres of Western Europe and the Western Pacific Basin, there should be more than just local work.

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