Worldwide trademark-filing activity boomed in 2020, defying a global economic downturn and signaling vibrant entrepreneurship and the introduction of new goods and services in response to the pandemic.
WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Indicators Report (WIPI) also showed that patent and industrial designs filing activity rebounded in 2020, illustrating the resilience of human innovation even amid the dire global health situation.
Trademark filing activity rose by 13.7%, patents by 1.6% and designs by 2% according to the WIPI, which compiles new data from some 150 national and regional authorities and shows how innovators, designers and brands are increasingly relying on intellectual property tools to expand their enterprises and seek new growth.
“WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Indicators Report confirms that despite the deepest economic contraction in decades, intellectual property filings – a strong indicator of innovation – showed remarkable resilience during the pandemic,” said WIPO Director General Daren Tang. This is in contrast to the financial crisis of 2008-2009, when both patent and trademark filing activity contracted sharply, said Mr. Tang.
Commenting on the particularly strong growth in trademark filings in 2020, Mr. Tang said: “This shows how enterprises across the globe have brought new products and services to the market, as reflected by the double-digit growth in trademarks filing activity in 2020 despite the massive economic shock. Despite the difficult situation, enterprises are finding opportunities to reach customers in new ways, open up new markets and bring their ideas to the world using IP.”
The annual WIPI report collects and analyzes IP data to inform policy makers, business leaders, investors, academics and others seeking macro trends in innovation and creativity.
“The WIPI is an important tool to understand the landscape to see where innovation is happening around the world,” said Assistant Director General Marco Aleman, who oversees WIPO’s work relating to statistics, adding “We live in a world of data-driven decisions, so this report helps policy makers and others plan for the future.”
Worldwide patent-filing activity returned to growth in 2020 after the first dip in a decade in 2019, driven by a decline in China. In 2020, China’s IP office reported growth again with 1.5 million patent applications. This was 2.5 times more than the amount received by the patent office of the second leading country, the United States (USPTO; 597,172). The U.S. was followed by Japan (JPO; 288,472), the Republic of Korea (KIPO; 226,759) and the European Patent Office (EPO; 180,346). Together, these five offices accounted for 85.1% of the world total.
An estimated 13.4 million trademark applications covering 17.2 million classes were filed worldwide in 2020. The number of classes specified in applications grew by a remarkable 13.7% in 2020, marking an eleventh successive year of growth. Many countries around the global saw a considerable downturn in economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, trademark filing activity grew substantially in 16 of the top 20 offices. In fact, 11 offices recorded double-digit growth in 2020, ranging from 12.2% in Germany to 44.3% in Indonesia. In most cases, growth in resident filings drove the overall growth.
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