Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CLVT), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, announced today a new report, Traversing the evolving trademark landscape: discover trends, challenges and opportunities through the lens of IP intelligence. According to the report, advances in the virtual world – the emergence of crypto-currency, the rise of the metaverse and surging popularity of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – have helped propel Nice Class 9 (technology, computer hardware and software) filings from third place in 2011 to second by the end of 2021.
Since the first U.S. trademark application for NFTs was filed in August 2018, related trademark applications have soared over 9,000% and those for virtual goods or services increased 250% in 2021, according to Clarivate trademark research data. Brands from Louis Vuitton1 and Dolce and Gabbana, to Coca-Cola2 and even the Australian Open tennis event,3 are experimenting with NFTs.
The report also finds that despite continued socio-economic uncertainty, worldwide trademark filing activity increased globally for the 10th consecutive year. However, there was a notable exception to the overall rise in trademark filing activity in Class 10 (medical and diagnostic equipment), which fell 22% last year. This suggests that the flurry of commercial activity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for masks or face coverings and other personal protective equipment, may have passed its peak.
Robert Reading, Head of Content Strategy, Clarivate said, “We live in a digital, hyper-connected and technologically advanced world where trends such as NFTs and the metaverse present both un-precedented opportunities and challenges to how intellectual property is created, managed and protected. Through the lens of trademark research intelligence, brands and organizations can better understand how to make confident business and brand decisions in a fast-evolving trademark landscape.”
Other key findings of the report include:
- U.S. trademark applications for NFTs jumped almost seven-fold in the first two months of 2022.
- Interest in the metaverse is driving a significant increase in applications using the term “Meta” and those for marks covering “virtual goods/services”.
- Mainland China continues to power world trademark filing activity and made up almost 70% of global filing activity in 2021, followed by the United States (5%), India (3%), Brazil (3%) and South Korea (2%).
- Mainland Chinese companies continue to dominate the list of top filers across multiple registers, accounting for five of the top ten filers – Xiaomi, Tencent, Alibaba, Huawei and Zhejiang Geely.
- Nice Class 35 (retail, advertising, marketing and business services) dominated in Mainland China in 2021, similar to the worldwide trend. The alcoholic beverage sector in Mainland China experienced strong trademark filing growth, with Class 33 (alcoholic beverages excluding beer) seeing a 34% increase and Class 32 (beer and non-alcoholic beverages) up by 13% in 2021.
- Despite a strong start and a record year for The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), filing volume steadily fell throughout 2021.
- Mainland China was the source of 28% of all trademark applications filed at the USPTO in 2021, an increase of 4% from the previous year. Conversely, trademark applications from U.S. addresses fell by 3% in 2021.
- The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has been the fastest growing major trademark register in the world, growing 31% in 2020 and 38% in 2021.
- South Korea ranks among the top five IP offices in the world, underlining its importance on the global IP stage. Trademark filing activity at the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has been rising consistently and saw double digit year-on-year increases in filing volume between 2019 and 2021.
Reading concluded, “Organizations continue to face some of the most challenging business conditions today. Making informed brand decisions with certainty and speed to fuel progress and growth is getting harder. At Clarivate, we empower organizations with critical insights and IP management solutions that are designed to help them build and protect their most critical asset – their brand. In a world where organizations are operating in a borderless, highly competitive and increasingly online marketplace, curating and safeguarding unique and valuable brand identities will become ever more critical to business success.”