Protect Your IP in the UAE With the RAKICC

adequate intellectual property

Are you working with many intellectual property assets and are looking for a Free Zone to set up in operations in the UAE? Look no further than the Ras Al-Khaimah International Corporate Centre (RAK ICC). The Free Zone offers an Intellectual Property Holding Company (IPHC) format that can meet your needs. If you have intellectual property, you should ensure that those assets have adequate intellectual property protection, and that’s what this corporate structure can give you. Want to learn more? Read on for the details, but before we get there, there are two things we want to cover quickly.


What constitutes intellectual property?

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines intellectual property, or IP, as “...creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” You may have heard of trademarks, patents and copyrights, which are legal structures that allow people to earn financial benefits or recognition for their creations and inventions.

Intellectual Property law will differ across jurisdictions, but WIPO defines six categories of intellectual property. What are the differences between them? Patents are exclusive rights for an invention and give the owner of the patent the ability to decide if others can use it, and should they choose to let others use it, how. Copyrights reference the rights creators have over their artistic and literary works, such as music, books, films, paintings and sculptures. As for trademarks, those are signs that can distinguish the goods or one firm or another. An example of a trademark would be the Coca-Cola name and the graphic representation of the design. The Coca-Cola company holds a patent over the formula used to make the drink. 

The next three lesser-known categories are geographical indications, industrial designs and trade secrets. A geographical indication or appellation of origin are signs that you can find on goods that originate from a specific place and have characteristics, qualities or a reputation attributable to their source. You can find an appellation of origin on many European products, such as Rioja red wine from the La Rioja region of Spain and Champagne sparkling wine (that’s why you can’t call sparkling wine not from the Champagne region of France champagne). Just as we saw with both Rioja and Champagne, the place is often in the appellation of origin. 

An industrial design is an aspect of an article that is either aesthetic or ornamental. They can be either three-dimensional or two-dimensional, making patterns, colours or an article’s surface part of it. They apply to many items you can find in your household or shops, like jewellery, graphic symbols and packaging. Finally, what are trade secrets? These are the IP associated with confidential information that you can either licence or sell. If you acquire them in an authorised fashion or use them in a way that violates honest business practices, they will call that behaviour a violation of trade secrets. Who employs this mechanism? Angostura, the Trinidad and Tobago-based firm that makes Angostura Bitters, uses trade secrets to protect its 200-year-old product. 


A brief overview of the RAK ICC

While we have covered the Ras Al-Khaimah International Commercial Centre in other articles, the essential details to recall about this Free Zone are that the RAK ICC offers five different structures for your International Business Company (IBC). Another one of the standout features of this Free Zone is the Premium Product that allows for you to operate as a Free Zone corporation and have the ability to run on the Mainland in cooperation with the RAKEZ, or Ras Al-Khaimah Economic Zone. Along with the five corporate structure options, you can choose between five categories of activity licences. Then, the best advantage is that unlike most Free Zones, RAK ICC offers you the chance to transfer your domicile. The ability to move your entity from one jurisdiction over to the RAK ICC instead of having to liquidate your company and commence the process all over again.


Now, what are the benefits of the RAK ICC’s  Intellectual Property Holding Company (IPHC)?

What is the intellectual property holding company (IPHC) at the RAK ICC? It can be the sister company of a global corporation or a subsidiary of the global firm that you use to hold all intellectual property assets. That means that instead of spreading your trademarks, copyrights and other IP-protected assets across your subsidiaries, it stays in one place. This separation can allow you to create new revenue streams for these assets and not have them subject to creditors and lawsuits that happen at your parent company. 

The RAK ICC knows the importance of protecting IP assets as a means of positioning yourself in the world. With that in mind, their intellectual property holding company structures that are separate from your operating corporation, offering you a platform to house all these assets with the associated protections. What are they?

First, centralising your IP assets in one place allows you to access and administer all intellectual property from one place efficiently. Also, if you need to sell or lease out anything, having one legal structure grants you the flexibility to do so. Then, of course, protection is one of the cardinal reasons you pursue IP in the first place. Rather than having litigation in a myriad of jurisdictions, an IPHC lets you litigate from only one place. This structure also grants your IP activities protection from the trading activities your company carries out. 

What if you need collateral? The securitisation benefit allows you to use your IP assets as collateral. Taxation is another one of the perks associated with company formation in the UAE. With that mind, you can benefit from more efficient tax structures, as well as consolidating all your payments in one jurisdiction as opposed to many. Plus, the advantageous tax perks that come from company formation in RAK ICC allow you to get even more out of the taxation benefits. Lastly, the structure grants you flexibility in conducting an audit of your IP as well as taking inventory of those assets. 


Are you ready to protect your business partnership and intellectual property?

The RAK ICC Free Zone’s offering of intellectual property holding companies (IPHC) is what you need to maximise their protection and the potential they can bring to your business. Our expert professionals in corporate governance, taxation, law and advisory have everything you need to reap the rewards of operating in this jurisdiction. If you would like to get the process going with our team, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Written by
Mei Wang
Mei Wang
Business Advisor, Europe Emirates Group



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