The coronavirus crisis has manifested itself in an exceptional manner in the number of trademark applications filed both in Finland and globally.
The Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) reported that it had received 29 per cent more trademark applications between April and August than during the corresponding period in the previous year. Despite the flood of applications, the Office managed to keep the application processing times relatively short.
The statistics of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in turn show that the Office received 20 per cent more trademark applications between June and July than during the corresponding period in the previous year. The Office thus received more EU trademark applications in both June and July than during a single month ever before in the history of the Office. Also, for example, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reported a record number of filed trademark applications in August.
The increase in the number trademark applications may partly be explained by the fact that, as a result of the coronavirus crisis, companies have had to adapt their businesses in an exceptional manner and develop new products and brands. For example, in Finland, the EU and the United States, more trademarks have been applied for goods in class 9 – such as computer programs and software – during the past six months than during the corresponding period last year. This may for its part reflect the fact that trademarks have been applied for new and innovative digital goods and services. It would seem that the coronavirus crisis has also made companies more aware of the significance of trademarks and the added value they bring to business.
However, at the same time statistics show that trademark-related disputes and litigation have not increased in proportion to the increase in applications. This might be explained by the fact that in economically uncertain times companies aim to avoid costs and expense risks related to opposition procedures and litigation.
It is, however, important to actively protect trademark rights also in economically uncertain times because inaction may later have unexpected consequences. Responding proactively and actively may help in endeavouring to resolve trademark disputes already at an early stage as cost-effectively as possible to avoid ending up in expensive litigation.
Our trademark specialists will be happy to help in questions related to developing your brand portfolio and protecting your trademarks.
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