Trademark Filings Reach Record High; Industrial Designs Climb As Well

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International trademark applications filed in 2011 reached a record high of 42,270 applications and a year-on-year growth of 6.5 per cent as businesses resolved to protect their brands despite last year’s shaky economic situation, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reported today.

International design applications also posted growth of 5.7 per cent last year, with a volume of 2,521 applications.

The Madrid international trademark system offers a trademark owner the possibility of having a mark protected in up to 85 countries by filing just one application.

The UN agency said the number of applications coming from the member states of the European Union (EU) stood at 24,275, accounting for 57.4 per cent of the total applications filed last year. The number includes applications filed with EU trademark offices and those filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), which is the EU regional office.

“The recovery in Madrid system activity that we witnessed in 2010 was further consolidated in 2011, where a new record was established for the number of international trademark applications filed,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said in the release.

WIPO said the largest growth rates in applications were seen in Russia, which posted a growth of 35.6 per cent, followed by the EU with 24.5 per cent growth, the United States with 15.5 per cent and China with 11.5 per cent.

China remained the top country where trademark applicants sought protection. China received 18,724 designations. It was followed by the EU, US, Russia, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Turkey and Ukraine.

WIPO said that for last year the OHIM overtook Germany as the largest source of filings with 5,859 international applications. Applications filed with OHIM last year increased by 24.5 per cent.

The number of international applications from Germany last year stood at 5,000 or 11.8 per cent of the total. The US followed with 4,791 international applications or 11.3 per cent of the total.

With 125 international trademark applications, Novartis (Switzerland) filed the most applications, WIPO said. It was followed by Philip Morris (Switzerland), Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma (Germany), Richter Gedeon Nyrt (Hungary), Nestlé (Switzerland), Philips (Netherlands) and BMW Aktiengesellschaft (Germany).

To date, Henkel (Germany), with a total of 2,364 international registrations, holds the largest number of registrations under the Madrid system, the UN agency added.

International Design Filings

WIPO put the number of international design applications filed last year under the 59-member Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Design at 2,521, saying this was a growth of 5.7 per cent over the previous year. No further details were provided on the number of applications, but WIPO provided data on the growth of the number of designs contained within the applications filed.

The Hague system is an instrument that allows filing of a single application with up to 100 individual designs and one or more designated contracting parties.

According to the Table 3 of the WIPO release, the number of designs as contained in the international applications for last year reached 12,033 designs, a growth of 4.2 per cent over the previous year.

WIPO said the largest increases in the number of designs filed were recorded in Germany with 47 per cent growth, Switzerland with 18 per cent growth, Norway with 112 per cent growth, Croatia with 1,087 per cent growth, Liechtenstein with 50 per cent growth and Denmark with 216 per cent growth.

In 2011, the highest number of applications came from Germany with 3,395 designs or 28.2 per cent of the total. It was followed by Switzerland with 2,787 designs, the United States with 1,287 designs, France with 912 designs, Netherlands with 656 designs and Italy with 634 designs.

Most of the applications last year were seeking protection in the European Union. Designations of the EU contained 8,440 designs or 76.2 per cent of the total design applications. It was followed by Switzerland with 7,593 designs, Turkey with 4,631 and Ukraine with 2,550.

Procter & Gamble (US) filed the most applications with 167 design applications received by WIPO in 2011. It was followed by Swatch Group (Switzerland), Philips (Netherlands), Gillette Company (US), Daimler AG (Germany), Nestlé (Switzerland), Vestel (Turkey), Volkswagen (Germany), LIDL (Germany) and Braun (Germany).

WIPO members are currently holding discussions on the possible adoption of a design treaty that could streamline and harmonise some areas in design procedures.

Maricel Estavillo, an intern at Intellectual Property Watch, is an LL.M. in Intellectual Property and Competition Law Candidate at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC). A former business journalist in Manila, Philippines, she is currently working on research on copyright in digital media for her Master’s thesis.

Maricel Estavillo may be reached at maricelestavillo@gmail.com.

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