Recent Trends in Global Trademark Publications

by PretiFlaherty

A recent study indicates that in 2013 China again held the title of most trademark applications published by a national trademark office in a given year.  And, while the United States retained its hold on the number two position, Brazil saw major increases in published trademark applications in 2013 and claimed third place.

The data, published by Thomson Reuters® and culled using its SAEGIS® on SERION® trademark search platform, finds some shuffling in the ranks of the top ten trademark publishers for 2013.  Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom fell out of the top ten, while India, Mexico and Taiwan took their places.  And while most of the top ten saw fairly steady numbers of trademark publications compared to the previous year, both South Korea and Brazil saw marked increases in 2013.  Aside from those already mentioned, the top ten countries include Turkey, Japan, and France.

A word on methodology: since China requires a separate trademark application for each class of goods or services for a given mark, unlike other countries that allow multi-class applications, one cannot compare the gross number of publications alone.  Rather, Thomson Reuters looked at the number of discrete marks that were published in a given year.  In other words, if a mark was published in three classes in China, it would still count as one published mark for purposes of this study.

Taking a closer look at the data, China saw an almost five-fold increase in the number of published marks from 2007 to 2010, to a peak of approximately 1.2 million published marks.  The numbers fell back in 2011 to under 1 million, and fell further to some 860,000 published marks in 2013.

In the U.S., publications fell off a bit in 2009 and 2010, compared to previous years, which would be consistent with a decline in filings in the immediate aftermath of the recession that began in 2008.  The numbers have been fairly steady over the past three years, at about 325,000 publications per year.

The biggest increases in the number of publications from 2012 to 2013 were found in Brazil, South Korea and Turkey.  Thomson Reuters reports a 53% increase in publications in Brazil last year, a 23%  increase in South Korea, and about an 18% increase in Turkey.  While we do not have empirical evidence to back this up, one wonders if the 2014 FIFA World Cup® and 2016 Summer Olympic Games have contributed to the increase in Brazilian publications.

While it is interesting to see how the gross numbers of published marks compare between countries, it is important to note that the most popular classes of goods and services vary from country to country.  In China, the most popular class for published trademark applications in 2013 was International Class 25, which includes clothing, footwear, and headgear.  Second place in China was Class 35: advertising and business management.

In the United States, most trademark applications were published for goods in Class 9, which includes scientific, photographic, measuring and signaling instruments.

Interestingly, in Turkey, France, and Brazil, the most popular class was Class 35: advertising and business management.  This class was also the most popular world-wide in 2013.

This data suggests that there is a lot of interest in protecting brands in developing economies, and that at least for the near term we expect this trend to continue.  The more challenging task is identifying the countries that will see new or continued growth in filings.

[All trademarks used in this article are the property of the respective owner.]


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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