Pursuing genuine goods: how far can you go to protect your brand?

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Al Tamimi has successfully represented a multi-national tobacco brand owner before the Dubai courts in one of the most controversial cases in recent years. The history of this case goes back to 2009 when the Al Tamimi intellectual property enforcement team received information in relation to a container imported into Dubai from Port Saeed in Egypt, through the Jabel Ali Free Zone Seaport.

The container contained approximately 420 master cases of branded cigarettes for a line of products that was no longer manufactured by the client. In fact, the client stopped producing this brand of cigarettes as long back as 2003.

After investigating the goods and conducting a forensic examination, it was confirmed that the imported products were genuine – but old – products produced and distributed by a licensed manufacturer. Based on this information, the Customs Authorities issued an administrative decision to release the shipment of cigarettes due to lack of power to sustain the seizure. However, the brand owner needed to prevent the sale of these old products in the market and therefore we moved to file an urgent application with Dubai Court for expedited matters seeking issuance of preliminary attachment order to seize and further inspect the goods. The application was based on the client’s interest to prevent trade in expired products carrying its trade marks and the protection of the health and safety of consumers as protected by both federal and Dubai laws. Therefore, the Dubai Court granted the ordered directing the Customs Authorities to maintain the detention of the goods for further inspection products…

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