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44

Legal Expert Board

JUNE 2012

Intellectual Property

Global registrations still rising and colombia joins Madrid System

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) defines Intellectual Property (IP) as ‘creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce’.

IP touches every part of commercial life. It covers trademarks, patents, copyrights and more recently, sound marks. Protecting a company’s IP and brand is one of the most

important aspects to business; it is a vital way in which a company’s success can be guarded.

The WIPO has reported strong increases in intellectual property (IP) filings worldwide over the last few years after a significant drop back in 2009, and its 2012 Hague Yearly Review shows some equally interesting facts and figures.

The report shows that international design registrations once again rose in 2011, and states that ‘international

design

registrations issued through the WIPO-administered Hague system grew by 6.6% in 2011. This growth was driven by Germany,

the

United States of America (US) and Norway, with these countries accounting for 81% of

total

growth’. Taking a specific look at the companies who contributed to the filings last year,

year

the report states: “Procter & Gamble of the US, with 167 international applications, heads the list of top applicants for the third running. The

Swatch Group (70) of

Some more recent news from the IP world is the announcement that on May 29th, Colombia became the 87th member, and only the second Latin American region, of the Madrid Protocol, coming into force completely on August 29th of this year. Commenting on Colombia’s joining, Mr. Gurry said: “I am hopeful that other countries in the region will follow Colombia’s example.” He added: “The greater the geographical coverage of the Madrid system, the greater the benefits it offers to brand owners the world over.” LM

Switzerland ranked second in 2011, followed by Philips Electronics (64) of the Netherlands, The Gillette Company (56) of the US and Daimler AG (55) of Germany.”

There is, of course, any number of explanations as to why registrations rise in a particular year, and of course, many of these reasons can be linked to economic performance. However, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry ventures forth an explanation in his foreword to the 2011 World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) Report, commenting that the upturn shows that companies across the world are displaying a continuation of innovation, which can only be good news for growth. He said: “This can help to create new jobs and generate prosperity once macroeconomic stability is restored.” He added: “If economic conditions were to deteriorate sharply in the short term – as happened in 2009 – companies might be forced to curtail or abandon their investments in innovation, stifling an essential source of growth.”

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