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A Busy Year for the UKIPO

2020 was a busy year for the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), with the number of trademark, patent and design applications increasing in 2020 compared to the year before.

The most significant increase in applications was seen in trademarks, with applications in 2020 increasing by 27.4% to record levels.  This upwards trend in trademark filings is something we have experienced ourselves, with many clients keen to pre-emptively file UK applications before the UK’s exit from transitional provisions with the European Union.  Beyond the Brexit effect, the UKIPO has also seen a significant surge in trademark applications originating from China.

Whilst not as significant as the increase in trademark filings, the UKIPO also saw an upturn in the number of patent applications filed in 2020.  Domestic applications increased by 8.1%, whilst PCT applications increased by a more modest 1.7%.  For the owners of UK patent applications, one of the most pleasing statistics is the 64.3% increase in the number of patents granted in 2020 compared to the year before.

This surge in grants is the tangible result of the UKIPO’s work to reduce the backlog of applications awaiting examination and is welcome news.  Additionally, a record number of patent applications were made utilising the UKIPO’s accelerated ‘Green Channel’ for applications relating to environmentally beneficial technology.

The demand for UK design rights continues to increase, with filings up 386% since 2015.  Brexit, the availability of online application forms and changes in fee structure are believed to have driven this demand, with the UK becoming a member of the Hague system also having an impact.  UK based applicants filed the majority of design applications at the UKIPO. Outside of the UK, applicants based in China and the USA made significant numbers of applications.

Overall, the number of applications for registered intellectual property rights in the UK is trending upwards.  This increased demand holds for both UK and overseas applicants, indicating that UK intellectual property rights are valued worldwide.

For further information, please contact Thomas Gibb, Thomas.gibb@murgitroyd.com

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Dr Thomas Gibb

Head of Professional Practice
Southampton