Design filings jumped 55% in 2016: UKIPO

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Applications for trademarks and registered designs increased last year in the UK, while patent applications ped slightly.
Yesterday, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) released “Facts and figures: patent, trade mark, design and hearing data: 2016”.
Registered design applications jumped to 10,030 last year, compared with 6,472 in 2015, representing a 55% increase.
Trademark filings rose significantly—from 58,627 in 2015 to 65,710 last year (12%).
While the number of UK patent applications filed over the last five years remains more or less constant, the number of trademarks continues its steady long-term growth, said Andrew Clay, consultant in Squire Patton Boggs’ IP and technology practice.
The number of patent filings fell slightly to 22,055 in 2016, compared with 22,801 in the previous year.
“Next year’s results will be the ones to watch though, as we will start to see the impact of Brexit,” explained Nick Shipp, partner at Kilburn & Strode.
He added that business for the firm has been strong post-referendum, but “being able to gauge this overall impact on UK patent filings will be valuable”.
Trademark oppositions also increased (from 1,255 to 1,566) and the number of appeals from such oppositions has also grown, from 29 in 2015 to 62 in 2016, said Carrollanne Lindley, partner at Kilburn & Strode.
She said this indicated that brand owners are “taking more serious measures to protect their core trademarks”.
Glaxo Group led the way for trademark applications (141) and registrations (189) last year.
In terms of patent applications, the IPO has seen increases of greater than 20% from applicants in Poland, Portugal, India, New Zealand and Korea
“There have been some slight decreases from Japan and Israel, two countries known for having companies very active in the IP space. Significant -offs from Brazil, France, Sweden, Denmark and Hong Kong are also apparent,” said Shipp.
Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce featured in the top five filers of patents, with 328 and 322 applications respectively.
According to Lindley, registered designs have acted as the “Cinderella of the IP registration world” for many years.
“Now there are signs the times are changing, as these latest statistics show a significant rise in registered design filings,” she said of the 55% increase.
Lindley believes this rise might stem from the Apple v Samsung battles over the design of smartphones and tablets.
According to Clay, the increase is a “big surprise” and may stem from the UK Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Trunki, which strictly limited the ambit of a registered design.
“It may well have encouraged multiple applications to be filed to ensure adequate protection for important designs. Registered designs are still very much cheaper than patents and the protection is available very much more quickly,” he said.
Brexit may already have had an impact too, with some owners opting for “home-grown rights in preference to Community-based rights, with all the uncertainties that may come with them in a post-Brexit world”.

Créditos: WIPR