Authenticity of foreign signatures and documents in the UAE requires what is known as legalization to be legally valid. The legalization process is both time consuming and costly; in addition, places certain transactions at risk if a legalized document is not secured within a statutory period of time.

Supporting documents for national entry of PCT applications in the UAE require the following legalized documents: a Power of Attorney (POA), an Inventor Deed of Assignment (DOA) and an extract from the commercial register. For repeat applicants that have already submitted a general POA to a local IP associate and a commercial register, the only requirement for each new national filing remains a legalized DOA. Scanned copies of these documents are acceptable, thus avoiding the further cost and risk of delay in shipping these documents in original form.

The Emirati Patent Office recently announced that a DOA may be submitted as a notarized document only, essentially, like an Apostille stamp, without the need for the further processing up to legalization by the Emirati Consulate.

With the constantly and rapidly growing and diversifying industry in the UAE, even such a simple update is welcome news, to SMEs looking at expanding their footprints and investments into this Arabian Gulf state. For the large firms that usually include the UAE as part of the global filing strategy, this cost cutting measure is also a welcome step, especially considering the revised budgets for securing patent filing in all six GCC member countries.

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