Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CLVT), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, today released a new report that highlights global insights into the optimization of trademark value, protection and technology.
The latest research from Clarivate reveals that high numbers of professionals report their organization could not pursue trademark-related business opportunities, such as licensing or moving into global markets and partnerships, because top level management was not engaged. 89% of respondents report that opportunities missed for this reason led their organizations to miss a revenue opportunity (34%) or rights (30%). Others say they were unable to move into new markets or strike lucrative licensing deals. A third (33%) says the absence of the C-suite adversely affected partnerships. 20% of the total respondent say the boardroom is not involved at all in trademark matters.
The consequences of trademark infringement
In 2020, almost nine in ten (89%) brands experienced trademark infringement, showing a steady upward trend from 85% in 2019, 81% in 2018 and 74% in 2017. For those that suffered infringement, consequences were significant and over half (56%) of all respondents stated it led them to having to change a brand name. This rose to 88% in Japan, causing a remarkable increase in expenses. Six out of ten trademark professionals reported that they spent more on dealing with infringement over the past year than in 2019.
The research further shows that trademark infringement frequently includes:
- Business name (51%)
- Web domains (49%)
- Social media (50%)
- Online marketplaces (27%)
- Advertising campaigns (36%)
Trademark filings still on the rise
In parallel with the rise in infringement, the number of trademarks filed is increasing with 57% of brands filing more in the last 12 months than they did in 2019 (48%). Image marks and industrial design applications also increased over the last year. Two thirds of respondents (66%) said they experienced an increase in applications for image marks over the last 12 months. This is up significantly from 56% last year and 82% of trademark professionals said they included industrial design filings as part of their overall filing strategy in 2020, compared with 78% in 2019.
Despite the hit to the global economy inflicted by the pandemic in 2020, the volume of new trademark filings rose last year. Trademark applications increased, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, with Mainland China reported to be 20% ahead of 2019, South Korea 19% ahead, and India by 13%. The U.K. saw filing volume increase by 31% over 2019 while the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) saw an increase of 14% and Germany was up by 14%.
However, the fastest growing trademark register in the world in 2020 was the United States, where filing volume increased by an unprecedented 35% over 2019. Increased trademark filing is leading to increased difficulties with trademark protection with 67% of respondents making this claim.
Technology: under-appreciated across the lifecycle
Only half of all trademark professionals noted that advances in technology will make trademark research and protection more effective. Many agreed that advanced technologies such as predictive analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have a role to play but still do not grasp how far-reaching the efficiency gains could be.
Despite this, 58% say high quality technology is one of their top three considerations when they choose a trademark research provider. As use of technology broadens, this percentage will likely increase even in the most conservative organizations, particularly after the prolonged, positive experience of using technology for remote working during lockdown working arrangements that could very well become permanent.
“In today’s global economy, brand portfolios must compete on an international scale, adapt to new opportunities and respond fast to threats that arrive with little warning. Organizations must remain strategic and alert, making full use of all tools and technologies available to increase competitiveness, boost agility and enhance their market position,” said Jeff Roy, President, IP Group, Clarivate.
He concluded, “Fortunately, advances in technology mean today’s trademark professionals are no longer isolated. With the existing tools, both legal and brand professionals can strategically establish and protect hard-won brand reputation and trademark integrity. Our end-to-end intellectual property solutions allows companies to make smarter and more informed decisions about how to take new products to market faster and how to protect their existing IP assets which are core to realizing business value and outcomes, while reducing their total cost of operating.”
The 2020 survey was conducted by independent research firm Vitreous World and looked at the experiences of trademark professionals around infringement, practices around the trademark process, and challenges faced. Online interviews were carried out toward the end of 2020 with a sample of 300 in-house trademark counsel and external trademark attorneys across the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Italy, France, Mainland China and Japan.