According to a troubling new report, 85% of brands experienced trademark infringement in the past year, showing a steady upward trend from 81% in 2018 and 74% in 2017. This is according to the latest research from CompuMark, a Clarivate Analytics company and industry leader in trademark research and protection, which gathered information from some 351 trademark professionals across the USA, UK, Germany, France, and Italy.
For those that suffered infringement, the main consequences were customer confusion (45%), loss of revenue (38%), and damage to brand reputation (37%). Three-quarters of trademark infringements also led to litigation, with 40% of organizations spending between $50,000 and $249,999 on legal proceedings. In addition, 46% of respondents had to rebrand as a result of the infringement.
The research also shows that trademark infringement frequently takes different forms, including Business Name (44%), Web Domains (44%), Social Media (38%) and Advertising Campaigns (34%).
In parallel with the rise in infringement, the number of trademarks filed is also increasing, with 48% brands filing more compared to last year. This reflects the latest figures from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) showing a 15.5% increase in trademarks filed in 2018.
The filing landscape is shifting too: 78% of respondents are including industrial design trademarks in their filing strategies, and 56% are filing more image marks than in 2018.
“We’re seeing more and more trademarks filed as brands seek to take advantage of commercial opportunities driven by globalization, the online marketplace and emerging markets entering the IP space,” said Jeff Roy, President, IP Group, Clarivate Analytics, “Trademark infringement can have a devastating impact on brands and, as a result, clearing, registering and watching marks has never been more important. It’s likely we will continue to see an increase in the number and types of trademarks registered, including image marks, as the process and technology for searching continues to improve”.
Technology was the most cited (49%) way of improving the trademark research and protection process, with artificial intelligence seen as the method of speeding up search, watch and review, as well as in using predictive analytics and automating tasks.
“Having access to the right data and tools remains critical in researching and filing new marks and artificial intelligence, in particular, will have a valuable role in improving the process. CompuMark, as a Clarivate Analytics company, continues to develop and invest in new technologies and solutions to help brands create, protect and advance their most valuable IP” concluded Roy.