A surge in trade mark filings

Businesses continued to invest heavily in IP creation and protection during the pandemic as illustrated by the significant increase in the number of trade mark filings made at the trade mark offices dealing with UK, EU and International applications in 2021.

The headlines are:  

UK trade marks

The UK Intellectual Property Office ("UK IPO") reported a 43% increase in trade mark applications during 2021, no doubt driven in part by Brexit. Such growth resulted in 196,557 applications in 2021, compared to 137,038 in 2020.

This was also on top of the double-digit growth in the preceding year.  From 2019 to 2020, there was an increase in filings of 27%.

This data does include filings made through the international system as well as direct filings for UK trade marks made through the UK IPO. International filings designating the UK increased 79% during 2021 to 32,647.  

EU trade marks

In contrast, the EU Intellectual Property Office reported a 12% increase in trade mark applications during 2021 to almost 200,000.

Applicants from China filed the most EU applications with 34,374 applications, followed by applicants from Germany (27,564) and the US (20,098).  The UK was in seventh place with 8,983 applications.

The top three most popular classes were class 9 (10.71%), class 35 (9.09%) and class 42 (6.80%).

International trade marks

The World Intellectual Property Office ("WIPO") reported that there had been a 14.4 % increase in the number of international trade marks filed in 2021 compared to 2020, with total numbers of over 73,000.

UK nationals are now the fifth largest user of the international trade mark registrations system with filings up by 12.6%.  The standout top filer remains US nationals.

Class 9, which covers goods such as computer hardware and software, was the most popular class and was included in 10.7% of applications filed at WIPO.

Businesses are still filing trade mark applications notwithstanding the difficulties over the last two years as filings are at a record high. If you have developed a new brand or extended your brand into new categories or countries over the last couple of years and have not filed a trade mark, do contact us for some initial advice which can cover filing trade marks in any country.

Charlene Nelson, Chartered Trade Mark Attorney