Number crunching

Duncan J. Morgan | August 2015

This summer, the UK Intellectual Property Office released a 60 page document setting out facts and figures relating to patent, trade mark and design cases they handled in 2013 and 2014.

The figures cover a broad range of categories, though for now we shall just pick out a few of the more notable statistics relating to trade mark filings last year.

First, it is pleasing to note that the number of applications being handled by the UKIPO increased by 8% in 2014, indicating that whilst problems in the economy remain, businesses are still innovating and investing in their brands.  It is of note that just under one third of all applications filed last year belong to individuals or businesses based in London, which may be indicative of a greater level of investment and wealth in the capital, or simply a reflection of the fact that whilst many businesses have premises and activity across the country, headquarters and administrative functions tend to be based in London.

Further, after the UK, the country of origin for applicants filing the most applications for British trade marks is the United States, which files more than twice as many British applications as the next nearest country (China).  This likely reflects the fact that the UK and US share the same language, and a significant proportion of their cultures, making the UK an obvious market into which US companies can more easily expand their brands.

Finally, the top five filers of British trade mark applications in 2014 were:

  • Glaxo Group Limited
  • British American Tobacco (Brands), Inc.
  • BVIPR Limited
  • Aldi Stores Limited
  • Unilever PLC

The top two in particular are unsurprising, as big pharma and the tobacco industries have traditionally been very strong at protecting and enforcing their IP, and both Glaxo and BAT have been at or near the top of this table in previous years.  A more recent addition to the top five filers is Aldi, perhaps demonstrating the success that business has enjoyed as a result of the continuing growth of the budget supermarket sector in the UK in recent years.

For more information on the IPO facts and figures click here.