Intellectual property rights statistics
Data extracted in October 2016
No planned update
The number of European trademark applications from within the EU increased annually by 7 % on average between 1996 and 2015.
The EU Intellectual Property Office received 89 412 EU trademark applications from EU countries in 2015, with 23 % coming from Germany and 14 % from the United Kingdom.
This article presents statistics on two types of intellectual property rights (IPR), European Union trademarks (EUTMs) and design applications (CDs) in the European Union (EU). The statistics are published by Eurostat and are based on raw data received from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the EU agency responsible for registering European Union trademarks and designs.
Intellectual property broadly includes everything created by the human mind. Common types of intellectual property rights include patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyrights. They constitute means by which creators seek protection for their intellectual property. Trademarks and designs reflect non-technological innovation in every sector of economic life, including services. In this context, indicators based on trademark and design data can provide a link between non-technological innovation and the market. R&D and patents are mainly related to the measurement of technological innovation and scientific expertise.
European Union trade mark (EUTM) applications
An overview of EUTM protection activity at Worldwide, EU-28 and national level
In 2015, EUIPO received 89 412 EUTM applications for trademark protection from EU-28 Member States, while during 2014, EUIPO received 82 602 EUTM applications. In 2009-15, the total number of EUTM applications increased both in the EU-28 and worldwide (see Figure 1), after a small decrease between 2007 and 2008.
In 2015, Germany and the United Kingdom had the highest number of EUTM applications out of all the EU-28 Member States (see Table 1). The number of EUTM applications from these two countries accounted for almost 36.8 % of total applications received by EUIPO from EU-28 Member States in 2015. Based on the number of trademark applications made in 1996-2015, the leading European countries in terms of EUTM protection are Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The highest number of EUTM applications made to EUIPO from outside Europe came from the United States and Japan. In 1996-2015, the United States had the highest average number of EUTM applications per year out of all non-European countries (12 322). In 2015, EUIPO received 16 894 applications from the United States for trademark protection in the EU.
EUTM applications per GDP and population
The use of relative terms makes it possible to compare EUTM application figures expressed as a ratio to gross domestic product (GDP) and population (see Table 1). Figures expressed as a ratio to GDP or population lead to different conclusions than those based only on total numbers. The relative figures for 1996-2015 were calculated as the ratios of the average number of EUTM applications in relation to the average GDP or average population. Figures per unit of GDP based on average values of 1996-2015 show that countries with small economies in terms of absolute GDP values, like Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus, have the highest numbers of applications for protecting European Union trademarks when EUTM applications per unit of GDP are taken into account. According to the relative figures, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Malta have the highest number of EUTM applications per million inhabitants.
These high figures in certain countries were the reason for further investigation into IPR protection in the EU. The subsequent analysis showed that certain countries provide an attractive corporate taxation environment for protecting intellectual property. It also showed that the tax systems of countries like Cyprus, Malta, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg are beneficial for IPR protection. The review of available literature verifies the fact that corporations benefit from the fiscal policies of certain countries with low corporate tax rates, including from tax exemptions for IPR protection. It is possible to benefit from the tax policies of foreign countries because intellectual property does not have a clear geographical location.
The average annual increase of the total number of EUTM applications that EUIPO received from within the EU is 7 % between 1996 and 2015. The average annual growth rate of the total number of EUTM applications is over 20 % for fifteen countries, of which twelve are EU-28 Member States. The countries with the highest annual growth rate in EUTM applications between 1996 and 2015 are Bulgaria and Romania (both 41 %), Slovakia (36 %), Slovenia (35 %), Lithuania (34 %), Poland (33 %), Croatia (29 %), Latvia (26 %), Estonia (25 %), China (except Hong Kong) (25 %), Czech Republic (24 %), Russia (22 %), South Korea (22 %), Malta (21 %) and Hungary (20 %) (see Figure 2). The countries with the lowest annual growth rate in the total number of EUTM applications made to EUIPO between 1996 and 2015 are Japan (3 %) and United States (1 %).
Co-ownership in EUTM protection
An analysis of co-ownership in European Union trademark applications shows that on average 97 % of EUTM applications annually received by EUIPO belong to a single owner (see Figure 3). Cooperation between EU owners is very limited and, on average, accounts for 2.5 % of EUTM applications received by EUIPO between 1996 and 2015.
The EUTM protection activity at regional level
In this section, the figures for EUTM protection activity across the regions of the EU Member States, as well as the regions of the EFTA countries and Turkey, are presented.
European Union trademark protection activity is concentrated mainly in the capital regions of EU-28 Member States. In 2015, five out of ten EU regions with the highest number of EUTM applications to EUIPO were capital regions (see Figure 4). The total number of EUTM applications that were submitted to EUIPO during 2015 by the top ten EU regions accounted for 17.3 % of total EUTM applications that were filed to EUIPO during 2015 by EU-28 Member States. The capital region of France, Paris, filed to EUIPO during 2015, the highest number of EUTM applications among all EU-28 regions. EUTM applications originating from Paris represented 2.6 % of total EUTM applications filed to EUIPO by EU-28 Member States. The top ten regions in the EU with the highest number of EUTM applications in 2015 originate from seven distinct countries. Germany, Spain and United Kingdom are represented by two regions in the top ten of the EU-28 regions with the highest EUTM protection activity during 2015. Camden & City of London is the region of EU-28 with the highest increase (90 %) in the total number of EUTM applications between 2009 and 2015. The total number of EUTM applications originating from Stockholm in 2015 was 80 % higher than the total number of EUTM applications that were filed to EUIPO by the Swedish capital during 2009. Among the top ten EU regions in EUTM protection activity the lowest increase in the total number of EUTM applications filed to EUIPO between 2009 and 2015 occurred in Milano (28.5 %).
It should be noted that some EU Member States have a relatively small population and are therefore not divided into more than one NUTS level 2 and 3 region. Thus, for these Member States, data presented for NUTS level 3 regions are identical to national data. According to the 2013 version of the NUTS classification, this applies to two EU-28 Member States: Cyprus and Luxembourg. For more information about the NUTS classification, please refer to the dedicated NUTS section on the Eurostat website NUTS - Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
Community design (CD) filed applications
An overview of CD protection activity at Worldwide, EU-28 and national level
The total number of Community designs (see definition under "Context")submitted by EU-28 applicants to EUIPO during 2015 was 59 818. The total number of Community designs increased steadily over 2003-07 both in the EU-28 and worldwide (see Figure 5) and in 2008 decreased slightly compared with 2007. In 2009, the total number of designs decreased further both in the EU-28 and worldwide, but started to increase again in 2010. In 2014, the total number of Community designs worldwide reached its highest level since 2003. In the EU-28, design protection was strengthened from 2009 onwards, more so than at worldwide level, with Design protection reaching and overtaking during 2013 & 2014 the levels of 2007. In 2015, the total number of Community designs decreased slightly compared with 2014, at EU-28 and worldwide level.
In 2015 as in 2014, Germany had the highest number of design protection filings in the EU-28 (16 951; see Table 2), followed by Italy (9 798). The data of 2015 indicate that Germany and Italy are the dominant EU-28 Member States in Community Design protection. The total number of designs originating from these two countries accounts for 44.7 % of total designs received by EUIPO in 2015 from EU-28 Member States. The highest average number of design protection filings in the EU in 2003-15 came from Germany (16 664), Italy (9 397), France (5 799), the United Kingdom (4 781) and Spain (3 729). The United States (8 014), China (excl. Hong Kong) (5 941) and Japan (2 225) had the highest numbers of Community designs from outside the EU in 2015. Of these, the United States had the highest average number, 6 089 in 2003-15.
Community Designs (CD) per GDP and population
Figures on community designs can also be expressed as a ratio to gross domestic product (GDP) and population (see Table 2). As was the case for EUTM applications, these figures lead to different conclusions than those calculated only based on totals. For 2003-14, the relative figures were calculated as the ratio of the average number of designs to the average GDP or population. When we look at design protection in Europe in relation to the size of the economy, the conclusions are similar to those drawn for trademarks. Lichtenstein has the highest ratio of designs per billion euros GDP out of all of 49 countries (28-EU Member States, 4 EFTA Member States , 1 candidate country for EU membership and 16 non-EU countries). However, the countries with the highest number of design protection per billion euros GDP are different from those for EUTM applications, with the exception of Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. The others are Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Denmark. These countries’ performance is also best when the total number of designs is expressed per million inhabitants.
The average annual increase of the total number of designs that EUIPO received from within the EU is 6 % between 2003 and 2015. The average annual growth rate of the total number of designs is over 20 % for fourteen countries, of which ten are EU-28 Member States. The countries with the highest annual growth rate in design protection activity between 2003 and 2015 are Romania (56 %), Bulgaria (49 %), Malta (48 %), China (except Hong Kong) (40 %), Poland (39 %), Russia (29 %), Hungary (28 %), Greece (25 %), South Korea (25 %), Slovenia (23 %), Luxembourg (23 %), Mexico (21%), Slovakia (21 %) and Czech Republic (20 %) (see Figure 6). Figure 6 also shows that Norway and Iceland experienced an annual decrease of 5 % and 6 %, respectively, in the total number of Community design applications that were filed between 2003 and 2015.
Co-ownership in Community Designs (CD) protection
An analysis of community design co-ownership shows that on average almost 74 % of designs at annual level, for which an application was filed to EUIPO, belong to a single owner (see Figure 7). Between 2003 and 2015, there were more jointly owned Community designs(18 %) than European Union trademarks (2.5 %) in the EU. EU co-ownership remained stable in 2011-13 (almost 19 %) until 2014, when it dropped to 11.2 %. In 2015 it further decreased to 8.6%. Regarding single ownership, since 2014 it was increasing with respect to previous years, reaching its highest rate in 2015 with 86 % of Community designs belonging to a single owner.
The Community Designs (CD) protection activity at regional level
In this section, the figures for Community design protection activity across the regions of the EU Member States, as well as the regions of the EFTA countries and Turkey, are presented.
Statistical figures on Community design protection analysis indicate that design protection activity in Europe is not concentrated in the capital regions. In 2015, among the ten NUTS3 regions with the highest number of designs filed to design applications to EUIPO only two are capital regions (see Figure 8). Among the top ten regions, nine belong to EU-28 Member States and the total number of designs by these regions accounted for the 13.6 % of total designs received by EUIPO during 2015 by EU-28 Member States. Paris, filed to EUIPO during 2015 not only the highest number of EUTM applications among all EU-28 regions but also the highest number of Community designs among all regions, which represented 2.9 % of total designs received by EUIPO from EU-28 Member States, EFTA countries and Turkey. Four of the top ten regions with the highest number of design applications in 2015 were from Italy. Figure 8 indicates that seven out of the top ten regions in design protection activity did increase their total number of designs filed to EUIPO during 2015 in relation to 2009. The highest increase between 2009 and 2015 in design protection activity occurred in Schaffhausen, a city of almost 35 000 inhabitants in northern Switzerland and the region Perugia, which is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, with a population of 168 066 inhabitants. The total number of Community designs originating from Schaffhausen increased by 3 376 % during 2015 in relation to 2009, while the increase in Perugia over the same period was 536 %. The high increase in the volume of designs that were filed to EUIPO for protection during 2015 from design owners with their domicile in Schaffhausen, started up since 2010 when enterprises with intensive protection activity in product designs, initialized their economic activity in the Swiss city. In Perugia, this increase is related to the intensive design protection activity of companies engaged in clothing and furniture manufacturing. The total number of designs to EUIPO in 2015 from Luxembourg and Stuttgart increased by 234 % and 111 % respectively when compared to 2009. At the other end of the scale among the top ten regions in Community design protection, Paris (-13.2 %), München (-20 %) and Barcelona (-35.3 %) had the largest decrease in design protection activity.
Source data for tables and graphs
The compilation of statistical indicators on European Union trademarks and designs is performed with the raw data that are provided by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), formerly known as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). EUIPO is the European Union Intellectual Property Office responsible for managing the EU trade marks and registered Community designs. With the entry into force of Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 amending the European Union trade mark regulation on 23 March 2016, OHIM became the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and the Community trade mark became the European Union trade mark.
Trademark and design statistics can serve as tools for illustrating the achievements reached by the European Union in its strategies for developing a smarter, knowledge-based, greener economy, growing fast and sustainably, and creating high levels of employment and social progress (under the Lisbon Strategy and the EU 2020 Strategy).
The compilation of statistics on trademarks and designs enables the European Commission to better measure non-technological innovation, whose importance is increasing for economies that are heavily reliant on the service sector. Trademarks and industrial designs give protection across all sectors of the economy and make it possible to better measure an innovation’s commercial value. Patent and R&D statistics mainly reflect inventions and are less related to product commercialization, as patent and R&D activity does not always lead to a technically successful solution that can be used in a commercial product or service.
Eurostat has added organisational and marketing innovation to its guidelines for collecting and interpreting innovation data (‘Oslo Manual’) and has incorporated related questions into the Community Innovation Survey (CIS 4 and CIS 2012). Non-technological innovations are mostly product innovations that take place in sectors with a relatively low technological content, notably the service sector.
Trademarks are words or figurative marks that are an essential part of the ‘identity’ of goods and services. They help deliver brand recognition, for example in logos, and play an important role in marketing and communication. It is possible to register a variety of trademarks, including words, graphical representations, and even sounds. Trademark owners have a choice of obtaining protection on a country-by-country basis, or internationally.
A registered European Union trademark (EUTM) is an exclusive right that protects distinctive signs. It is registered directly with EUIPO in Alicante in accordance with the conditions specified in the EUTM Regulations, and is valid in all of the 28 countries of the European Union. A EUTM registration lasts for 10 years but can be renewed indefinitely (Source: EUIPO).
A design is the outward appearance of a product or part of it, resulting from the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials and/or its ornamentation. The design or shape of a product can be synonymous with a company’s branding and image and can become an asset with monetary value that could increase.
A registered Community design (CD) is an exclusive right that covers the outward appearance of a product or part of it. It is valid in all countries of the European Union. It has an initial duration of five years from the filing date and can be renewed in blocks of five years up to a maximum of 25 years. Applicants may market a design for up to 12 months before filing for a registered community design without destroying its novelty (Source: EUIPO).
- Science and technology, see:
- Intellectual property rights (ipr)
- European Union trade marks (EUTM) (ipr_t)
- European Union trade marks (EUTM) applications by receive year (ipr_ta)
- European Union trade marks (EUTM) publications by publication year (ipr_tp)
- European Union trade marks (EUTM) registrations by registration year (ipr_tr)
- European Union trade marks (EUTM) renewals by receive year (ipr_trn)
- European Union trade marks (EUTM) lifecycle by receive year (ipr_tl)
- Cooperation for European Union trade marks by receive year (ipr_tc)
- European Union trade marks (EUTM) (ipr_t)
- Community design (CD) (ipr_d)
- Applications filled for the registration of one or more Community designs (CD) by receive year (ipr_da)
- Community design (CD) filed in applications by receive year (ipr_dfa)
- Registered Community designs (RCD) by registration year (ipr_dr)
- Registered Community design (RCD) publications by publication year (ipr_dp)
- Registered Community designs (RCD) renewals by renewal year (ipr_drn)
- Cooperation for Community designs (CD) by receive year (ipr_dc)
- Community design (CD) (ipr_d)