for the first time, china tops trademark applications at uspto
since june 2020, chinese applicants have been filing an increasingly large number of trademark applications in the us - with an average growth of 40% per month. in the week september 23-29 alone, chinese applicants filed 10,475 us trademark applications at the us patent and trademark office (uspto) while us brand owners filed 9,296 us trademark applications at the uspto.
the key products for chinese brand owners in the us are household/kitchen items, clothing, toys & games, small electric appliances and electronic items and accessories.
according to robert reading, director, government & content strategy for clarivate, a global leader in providing trusted analytics and insights and analytics to accelerate the pace of innovation, the switch from shopping in physical stores to e- commerce (online platforms) appears to be a strong driver of the growth from china.
“consumers are focused on price and reviews when buying online, so new brands are able to quickly capture market share,” he says. “online platforms also encourage vendors to have trademark protection for their brands in an effort to fight counterfeiting which is driving trademark filing activity in the us.”
he says that with china leading the trademark applications, the significance is two-fold. “first, the rate of growth is unprecedented,” he says. “40% per month for four months is remarkable, especially as they have been no procedural or legislative changes in the us that would change filing behaviour. not only have us applicants been overtaken by chinese applicants in the us for the first time, but it was completely unexpected looking at the data just a few months ago. the second aspect is that this is happening during a period of global economic uncertainty, with tension in place between the us and china, and a us presidential election just weeks away.”
although chinese applicants have also recently become the leading filers at the euipo in europe (overtaking applicants from germany and the us), they aren't dominating the register in the same way. however, while the us is the largest and therefore the most important target market for chinese brands, it is likely that the growth in the us will appear on other major trademark registers around the world, particularly in europe and the uk. us right holders are currently facing a larger, potentially more cluttered us trademark register, with longer examination times and delays due to unexpected major filing volume increases.
“making predictions is difficult as the growth we've seen - while spectacular - is very recent and not clearly due to a major change in circumstances or legal requirements (the normal drivers for these kinds of rapid changes),” says reading. “even if the growth slows, it is likely that recent filing activity will continue at current record-high levels unless authorities in the united states deem it desirable or necessary to make changes to the application process (such as increases in official filing fees) or requirements (stricter rules on us-based representation or proof of use in commerce) in order to change filing behaviour.”
excel v. dyquiangco