The courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre, uniquely for the region, operate in English based on English common law. The jurisdiction of the DIFC courts had been limited to matters where one of the parties operated in the DIFC. On 31 October 2011 Dubai Law No. 16 of 2011 was enacted (press release here) which amended Dubai Law No. 12 of 2004 which had created the DIFC Courts. As a result parties with no nexus to the DIFC may now agree to submit any civil or commercial dispute to the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts (about the DIFC Courts here).
This part of the Empty Quarter expects that most IP disputes to be heard in the DIFC courts will be where the parties have agreed to the jurisdiction prior to the dispute. Lawyers in the region drafting agreements such as licences are likely to consider selecting the jurisdiction of the DIFC. Whether there will be a sufficient volume of IP disputes to warrant the appointment of a specialist IP judge is another issue.