A recent independent survey [i] into the trade mark profession has found nearly three quarters of respondents have experienced trade mark infringement in the last year.This alarming statistic is just one of the red flags to arise from the survey conducted by the leading research agency Vitreous World in 2017. The survey respondents were made up of 300 trade mark professionals from in-house and external legal teams from the UK (100), US (100) and France and Germany.
The findings also concluded that more than 40% of respondents saw an increase in instances of infringement in 2017. A staggering one third of those surveyed even had to change a brand as a result of infringement.
Equally important was a trend showing growth in the number of trade marks being filed, for example, with year on year growth of more than 3.7% for EU trade marks and an increase of over 9% in the US from the 2016 figures. Put simply, more businesses than ever before are seeking trade mark protection and as filings increase, the instances of infringement are also rising.
Budgetary constraints are also proving to be a concern to those charged with protecting and enforcing trade mark rights. Over two thirds of those questioned reported that their trade mark budget had either remained static from the previous year (58%) or had actually decreased (10%). Essentially, in many cases, departments are tasked with doing more for less or with the same funds as before. This has led to trends such as over a quarter of respondents launching a secondary or seasonal brand without conducting full clearance searches.
Policing of brands is also not as widespread as it ideally should be, according to the survey results. For example, only 55% of those questioned have trade mark watches in place for more than half of their brands.
The Internet and social media have comprehensively altered the trade mark landscape, allowing smaller businesses to compete and grow alongside multinationals. This factor coupled with the trends highlighted by the survey, illustrates how vital it is in today’s fast paced world for businesses:
A) To ensure searches are undertaken for new brands, in order to minimise infringement risks
B) To seek registration of the key brands following such searches in order to be in a better position to enforce rights against others; and
C) To put watching services in place, at least for core brands, in order to police third party filings
Businesses are therefore actively encouraged to undertake a comprehensive review of their brand portfolio and their strategies for trade mark protection, policing and enforcement to reduce the potential of third party actions or worse still, of having to rebrand entirely.
Lane IP can assist your business to compose a suitable strategy aligned to your particular budget. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
[i} A copy of the survey can be downloaded at this link- https://www.compumark.com/trademark-ecosystem/
Article by Rob White 19/02/2018