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Record International Trademark Filings in 2011

12-Mar-2012 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 6530
GENEVA - 2011 saw the highest number of international trademark applications ever filed under World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (“Madrid system”) with 42,270 applications, or a 6.5 % increase compared to 2010. A press release by WIPO stated that applications from the member states of the European Union (EU) accounted for more than half (57.4%) of all international trademark applications, and China remained the most designated country for trademark protection.

“The Madrid international trademark system enables individual businesses to protect their brands in line with their export strategies and provides excellent value for money. 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,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

The largest growth rates amongst the top ten countries in the system came from the Russian Federation (+35.6%), followed by the European Union (+24.5%), the United States of America (+15.5%) and China (+11.5%).

International registrations recorded in the International Trademark Register increased by 8.5%, with a total 40,711 new registrations issued in 2011.

WIPO also recorded 21,754 international trademark renewals in 2011, reflecting the continued value that businesses place in their established brands, at a time when there is a level of uncertainty in the global economic situation.

International design activity also grew in 2011 with WIPO receiving 2,521 applications under the 59-member Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, or a 5.7% increase over the previous year.

Madrid system - Regional and national filing trends

The top ten filers remained unchanged from 2010. However, in 2011, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) overtook Germany as the largest source of filings, with some 5,859 international applications in 2011, which represented a 24.5% increase over 2010.

Applicants in Germany ranked second, filing 5,000 international applications, or 11.8% of the total, whilst applicants based in the United States of America took third place and accounted for 4,791 international applications, or 11.3% of the total. France ranked 4th with 3,804 applications or 9% of the total. Switzerland continued to hold its 5th ranking with 2,933 international applications or 6.9 % of the total, followed by Italy, China and Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands).

With some 24,275 international applications, EU countries jointly accounted for 57.4% of the total in 2011. These figures include international applications filed through national European trademark offices of the countries concerned, as well as those filed through OHIM.

Top applicants and top holders

With 125 international trademark applications, Novartis (Switzerland) was the largest filer in 2011 followed by Philip Morris (Switzerland), Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma (Germany), Richter Gedeon Nyrt (Hungary), Nestlé (Switzerland), Philips (Netherlands) and BMW Aktiengesellschaft (Germany).

Henkel (Germany), with a total of 2,364 international registrations, holds the largest number of registrations under the Madrid system. The top 20 holders of international registrations at the end of 2011 were: Henkel (Germany), Janssen Pharmaceutica (Belgium), Novartis (Switzerland), L'OREAL société (France), Unilever (Netherlands), Nestlé (Switzerland), Sanofi-Aventis (France), BASF (Germany), ITM Enterprises (France), LIDL (Germany), Bayer (Germany), Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma (Germany), Siemens (Germany), BIOFARMA (France), Richter Gedeon Nyrt (Hungary), Syngenta (Switzerland), Philips (Netherlands), Philip Morris (Switzerland), Merck (Germany) and KRKA (Slovenia).

Top designated contracting parties

When submitting an international application, applicants must designate those contracting parties in which they want their mark to be protected. Applicants can also extend the effects of an international registration to other members by filing a subsequent designation at any time during the term of an international registration. In this way, the holder of an international registration can expand the geographical scope of the protection of a mark in line with evolving business needs and export strategies.

The number of designations in new international registrations and subsequent designations in 2011 was 323,855, an increase of 8.1% over 2010.

The top 10 most frequently designated members in 2011 remained the same as in 2010, namely China (18,724 designations), the EU, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Ukraine.
The other 40 most designated contracting parties were unchanged with the exception of Israel which was included for the first time in 24th position, Kyrgyzstan in 39th position and Uzbekistan in 40th position.

Most popular classes of goods and services

In submitting a trademark application, an applicant is required to specify the goods or services to be protected for the trademark in accordance with an international classification system known as the “Nice Classification”. The most popular classes of goods and services in international registrations recorded in 2011 were Class 9 (covering, for example, computer hardware and software) representing 8.9% of the total, Class 35 (covering services such as office functions, advertising and business management) which represented 7.3% of the total, Class 42 (covering services provided by for example, scientific, industrial or technological engineers and computer specialists) which represented 5.3% of the total, Class 25 (covering clothing, footwear and headgear) which represented 5.2% of the total, Class 41 (covering services in the area of education, training, entertainment, sporting and cultural activities) which represented 4.5% of the total and Class 5 (covering mainly pharmaceuticals and other preparations for medical purposes) which represented 4.5% of the total.

Design filings - Hague system in 2011

In addition to the 5.7% increase in international design applications in 2011, international registrations recorded by WIPO reached 2,363 (containing 12,033 designs), or a 6.6% growth compared to the previous year. The largest increases in the number of designs filed came from applicants in Germany (+47%), Switzerland (+18%), Norway (+112%), Croatia (+1087%), Liechtenstein (+50%), and Denmark (+216%).

Among major users, applicants in Germany ranked first, with 3,395 designs or 28.2% of the total. They were followed by Switzerland (2,787 designs or 23.2%), the United States of America (1,287 designs or 10.7%), France (912 designs or 7.6%), Netherlands (656 designs or 5.5%) and Italy (634 designs or 5.3%). Turkey, Austria, Belgium and Spain were also among the top ten, each with more than 150 individual designs.

The international design system also allows an applicant who does not reside in a contracting party of the Hague system to apply for protection so long as applicants have a connection to a member country – be it a state or an intergovernmental organization. This was notably the case of applicants from the United States of America.

The European Union (EU) was the most designated contracting party in terms of the number of designs for which protection was requested. Designations of the EU contained 8,440 designs (76.2% of the total number of designs). The next most designated were Switzerland with 7,593 designs (68.5%), Turkey with 4,631 designs (41.8%) and Ukraine with 2,550 designs (23 %).

Procter & Gamble (USA) topped the list of largest users with 167 design applications received by WIPO in 2011. Procter & Gamble was followed by Swatch Group (Switzerland), Philips (Netherlands), Gillette Company (USA), Daimler AG (Germany), Nestlé (Switzerland), Vestel (Turkey), Volkswagen (Germany), LIDL (Germany) and Braun (Germany).

Packaging (mostly for foodstuff and cosmetics) and the containers for the transport and handling of goods, such as plastic bottles accounted for 13.2% of the international registrations. This was followed by clocks and watches (9.6%) and furnishing (7.3%).
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