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UNCLE BEN'S Orange Becomes First UAE Single Colour Mark - International Law Office

International Law Office

Intellectual Property - United Arab Emirates

UNCLE BEN'S Orange Becomes First UAE Single Colour Mark

June 25 2007

The UAE Trademarks Office has for the first time accepted and registered a single colour trademark. The trademark, which was registered on April 12 2007 as Mark 81124, consists of the particular shade of orange used by Mars Incorporated for its UNCLE BEN'S range of rice products.

Mars has consistently used a particular shade of orange (Pantone 021C) as a dominant feature of the UNCLE BEN'S product packaging, to the extent that the colour orange has become associated with and distinctive of the UNCLE BEN'S range. As the colour has become a key identifying feature of the UNCLE BEN'S range and a feature copied by competitors, the protection of the colour became particularly important to Mars.

The UAE Federal Trademarks Law defines a 'trademark' as:

"anything which takes a distinctive form, whether names, words, signatures, letters, figures, drawings, symbols, titles, tax stamps, seals, pictures, inscriptions, advertisements or packs or any other mark or combination thereof."

Based on this wide definition of 'trademarks', and the fact that Mars has secured trademark protection for the UNCLE BEN'S orange colour in other jurisdictions, the UAE Trademarks Office accepted and registered the single colour mark in Class 30 of the Nice Classification in respect of rice and condiments. In the absence of any opposition by third parties to the trademark application, the UNCLE BEN'S orange colour became the UAE's first single colour trademark registration.

The acceptance and registration of the UNCLE BEN'S single colour trademark clearly illustrates the Trademarks Office's commitment to the protection of trademarks, including less conventional trademarks. It is hoped the UAE courts will take the same progressive approach to the protection of such trademarks when enforcing these rights.

For further information on this topic please contact Waldo Steyn at Al Tamimi & Company by telephone (+971 4331 7090) or by fax (+971 4331 3177) or by email (w.steyn@tamimi.com). The Al Tamimi & Company website can be accessed at www.tamimi.com and www.ip-emirates.com.

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