WIPO published their World Intellectual Property Indicators 2021 report earlier this month, which shows that despite the immense difficulties caused by the pandemic, IP filings increased in 2020. This was especially the case for trade mark filings which increased worldwide by 13.7% compared to 2019, with approximately 13.4 million trade mark applications filed worldwide in 2020. 

This increase in trade mark activity during the global pandemic is likely due to a number of factors, including companies spotting opportunities to diversify into new products and services as a result of Covid-19 and also businesses expanding abroad. 

Taking the example of the fashion industry, the Report indicates that 11.9% of all trade mark applications that were filed by applicants outside of their home country covered the classes associated with clothing and fashion accessories. This suggests that fashion brands and retailers spotted opportunities to expand their operations to new territories during the pandemic, likely as the result of an increase in online retail sales to overseas consumers, and that these sales were at a sufficient level that meant trade mark protection in these territories was worthwhile commercially. 

Worldwide trademark-filing activity boomed in 2020, defying a global economic downturn and signaling vibrant entrepreneurship and the introduction of new goods and services in response to the pandemic.


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