What have been the recent legislative updates in Dubai that help enable entrepreneurs and innovation?
IP laws were introduced in the UAE for more than a decade, including protection for trademarks, patents, work of authors, and various other laws to protect IP holders. More recently an IP protection law was introduced to DIFC in 2019. The UAE has issued a new Companies Law and a Bankruptcy Law that will likely boost entrepreneurship. The long-awaited Bankruptcy Law comes with a preliminary protection and process to avoid and protect companies from bankruptcy to save companies that may be able to be saved from liquidity issues and court enforcements. Every year, corporate registries in the UAE are offering more competitive setting up and licensing fees and are continually improving the friendliness and speed for setting up in the UAE.
How do you and the company embody and enhance Dubai's spirit of innovation?
We try to foster innovation by bringing minds to work together, in particular when working on solving a problem. We try to make a challenge of everything we do in the office and encourage working groups to meet within the office to think of new ways and ideas to help improve our office. On an ongoing basis, we try to re-think what we do in the office and speak out in a friendly forum of what we would like to see better in the firm. We then take such ideas and compare them against one another and put a group together to implement and make change in the organization. The ongoing nature of having ideas and then comparing them to others provides innovation and gives the people involved experience in dealing with new ideas and learning which ideas work and which do not.
How do you expect Expo 2020 to impact the entrepreneurial and innovation landscape?
Expo 2020 will be a reminder to the country that there is significantly more room for innovation. It will certainly encourage people by seeing the pace of development and innovation in other countries. As a firm, we expect to assist new business or current businesses with new bright ideas and its implementation. We also expect an increase in work to do with the registration of patents and trademarks. There is a growing need as well for protecting authors of art and other productions that we have noticed in recent years, and this trend will continue as more work from authors are produced in this region. There is certainly a high probability that Expo 2020 will encourage more innovation and growth in the business in the region, as people from all over the world exchange ideas and learn new things from one another.
How does Dubai compare in terms of IP laws and innovation regionally? Are there any places that offer notable competition now or in the near future?
Dubai has led the region in innovation. The UAE has as well put in place extremely important IP laws early on to help this growth and protect any innovation and new ideas by any person in the UAE. IP is being protected in the UAE in a noticeable fashion, and regulations are enforced by the authorities diligently. The other seven Emirates, in particular Abu Dhabi, are also enforcing and regulating the IP laws under the same federal law and regulation. Each Emirate certainly can be seen to encourage innovation and new ideas in slightly different but successful ways.
What are your strategic priorities and vision for the firm in 2020 and the coming years?
The firm's priorities and vision for 2020 and the coming years is to focus on challenging businesses with new legal ideas to improve the protection that they are afforded by law, assist in concluding successful contracts for clients, and develop a better commercial understanding of the business and priorities of our clients to better serve them.