WIPO: Trademark Filings Up Again; Now, Think Design! 05/04/2011 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)International trademark applications are on the rise, reflecting economic recovery, as are industrial design applications, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. However, the WIPO system for registering industrial design applications, though showing strong growth, still involves a limited number of countries, according to WIPO’s director general. Industrial design is a highly “accessible” form of intellectual property protection for all countries, particularly developing ones, he said. International trademark applications are on the rise and showed a 12.8 percent increase in 2010 compared with 2009, and are almost back to the level of 2008, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told a press briefing on 31 March. Trademark filings are a leading indicator of economic activity and this rise in applications are a marker of economic recovery, he said. Trademark renewals also demonstrate a “very healthy rise” under the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, managed by WIPO. Some 85 countries belong to the Madrid System. The largest growth in trademark filings came from South Korea, with a 42.2 percent increase, followed by China, with a 42 percent rise, then Italy, with a 38.7 percent rise, the United States, 29.6 percent, the European Union, 26.9 percent, and Japan, with 20.2 percent, according to a press release. The most popular classes of goods recorded in 2010 were “Class 9” goods, such as computer hardware and software, with 8.5 percent of the total, “Class 35” services, such as office functions, advertising and business management, with 7 percent, and “Class 25”, covering clothing, footwear and headgear, which represented 5.4 percent of the total, according to the release. The Lustre of International Design International design activity saw “record growth in 2010,” according to a press release. Gurry referred to the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs as a “baby treaty.” Although the Hague system started with the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs of 6 November 1925, it was revised in 1999 by the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. According to a press release, efforts have stepped up to simplify use of the Hague system by focusing on the Geneva act. “For the moment it is an embryonic system,” Gurry said, but there was a good upswing with a 32.6 percent increase over 2009, he said. Industrial design is one of the principal means for differentiation of products, Gurry said. When “the technological possibilities of a field have been exhausted, design then becomes the main way in which differentiation occurs,” he said. There is not an indefinite number of ways of making shoes, but designs enable differentiation, he added. “Intellectual property does not stop a person from being inspired by someone else’s idea, it stops people from slavish imitations,” he said. “There must be some degree of similarity permitted or else you could not have a fashion.” “We believe that design is a very accessible form of IP protection for everyone, regardless of the level of economic development, and we believe it is a big mistake to think otherwise,” Gurry said. Concerns repeatedly raised by developing countries in the context of patents are not present for design, Gurry said. Nor are issues related to accessibility or technology transfer. “Design is something all countries are capable of,” he said. “There is no transfer of technology issue. Traditional design is wonderfully rich and there is simply no North-South divide in industrial design.” According to the WIPO release, WIPO received 2,382 design applications under the 57-member Hague agreement. Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Austria, Spain and Luxembourg showed the greatest increases. The biggest filers were Germany, with 26.9 percent of the total number of designs filed, Switzerland, with 24.8 percent, France, with 9.4 percent, the Netherlands, with 8.2 percent, and the United States, with 7.6 percent. In 2010 11.4 percent of the recorded designs were in the field of packages in foodstuff and cosmetics. Clocks and watches were also among the top fields for applicants. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO: Trademark Filings Up Again; Now, Think Design!" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.