The number of trademarks registered in the UK for liqueurs and spirits rose by 12% in 2018 according to recently released figures.

London law firm RPC put the dramatic rise, from 2,210 filings in 2017 to 2,482 filings in 2018, down to the continuing boom in independently manufactured craft spirits. Driving this upward trend is flavored gin, sales of which, according to the Wine & Spirits Trade Association, saw an incredible 751% increase in 2018 in the UK, with a record 73 million bottles sold. Meanwhile, distillery numbers in the UK enjoyed a similarly robust increase over the same period, rising to 205 distillery businesses in 2018, up some 21% from 2017’s number of 170 distilleries.

Overall, since 2016, there has been a 58% increase in the registration of new spirits and liqueurs trademarks.

Ciara Cullen, Partner and Head of Food & Drink at RPC, said: “Consumer demand for new flavors and experiences has contributed to increased innovation and diversification of product lines – we are seeing all kinds of exciting new infusions. A lot of multinational distillers are now bringing out extra lines and limited runs of niche drinks, to compete with independents that have started to bite into their market share”.

Ben Mark, IP Partner at RPC, added: “The importance of establishing a distinctive brand identity in today’s highly competitive spirits market cannot be overstated. Failure to adequately protect that intellectual property can result in brand value becoming diluted by rivals launching copycat products. Should that end in litigation, having trademarks in place is crucial”.

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