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How Much Does it Cost to Register a Trademark in the BRICS Economies?

Published on 25 January 2019

In one of our previous articles published in IPWatchdog, The Costs of Obtaining and Maintaining a Patent in the BRICS Economies, we analyzed the costs of patent protection in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa ("BRICS"). In this article, we shall throw light on the costs of brand protection (i.e. the costs of trademark filing and registration) in the same five economies.

The BRICS Story: Arrival on the World Stage and Growth

BRICS is an acronym for an association of five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The foundation stone for the formation of BRICS was laid more than a decade-and-a-half ago. In a paper that he authored in 2001, Jim O'Neill (the then-Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs) formulated the acronym BRIC, labeling Brazil, Russia, India, and China as "emerging superstars most likely to dominate the 21st century globalized economy" (Ian Bremmer; 2017), with South Africa to be added later.

What began as informal annual meetings between the Foreign Ministers quickly transpired into formal meetings at the level of the Heads of States, with the holding of the First Summit in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. South Africa subsequently got inducted into the group in 2010, which led to the acronym being changed from BRIC to BRICS.

Though Goldman Sachs subsequently shut down its BRICS Investment Fund towards the end of 2015, the five economies continue to be prime and lucrative targets for investment in today's digital economy, in which new methods of doing business, such as electronic commerce, are shaking the fundamental roots and core business methodologies of businesses across the world.

Economic Potential and Significance of the BRICS Economies

Over the last 25 years, the BRICS economies have spearheaded a paradigm shift in the sands of the global economy towards developing economies. This is exemplified by their share in the global economy, which has increased by more than two-and-a-half times during this period, and stood at approximately 30% in 2014 (Daniel Mminele; 2016). Currently, the combined Gross Domestic Product of the five economies is almost equal to that of the U.S. (Colleen Goko and Rene Vollgraaff; 2018).

As per the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ("OECD"), China and India are expected to sustain their growth, while Russia and Brazil are expected to bounce back after navigating the high seas of economic turbulence. In the words of Federico Bonaglia, Deputy Director of the OECD Development Center, the "BRICS economies play a very important role by injecting dynamism into the world economy" (Financial Tribune; 2017).

Brand Protection Systems in the BRICS Economies

Brazil is a member state of "MERCOSUR", the fourth largest trading bloc in the world, which "accounts for almost three-fourths of total economic activity" on the continent of South America. (Hem Basnet and Gyan Pradhan; 2017). Likewise, Russia is a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union, which is one of the newer international organizations for regional economic integration, having come into existence only in January 2015. However, neither the Eurasian Economic Union nor MERCOSUR has a centralized or regional Trademark Office which, in turn, means that it is mandatory to register a trademark in each member state of interest.

India and China, on the other hand, are not member states of any such regional organizations. Likewise, South Africa is neither a member state of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization ("ARIPO") nor a member state of the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle ("OAPI"), which are the two regional Intellectual Property organizations in Africa.

In our previous articles, we have delved into the costs of trademark protection under two classes in Eurasia, MERCOSUR, ARIPO, and OAPI.

Trademark Application Filings in the BRICS Economies

As per the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017 report published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the National Trademark offices of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa collectively received close to 4.5 million trademark applications in the year 2016, with the then-State Intellectual Property Office ("SIPO") of China, which was recently rechristened to China National Intellectual Property Administration ("CNIPA"), receiving more than 80% of the total applications.

For the last few years, the trademark landscape in China has witnessed a breakneck explosion in trademark application filings which, in turn, has almost single-handedly powered the growth in the global trademark landscape. The Chinese trademark filing numbers in 2016 were followed by a further robust growth of about 56% in 2017, during which year trademark filings in the country reached dizzying numbers of about 5.75 million. This was thanks, in part, to the slashing of the official trademark filing fees by 50% with effect from April 1, 2017.

Trademark Protection Costs in the BRICS Economies

Let us now study the costs involved in protecting trademarks in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. There are three categories of costs involved: official fees, attorney charges, and translation costs.

The costs are generally dependent on the number of classes of goods and services under which the trademark application is filed. The current version of the 'International Classification of Goods and Services' (Nice Agreement Eleventh Edition – Version 2018) contains 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services.

Let us consider a trademark application for a word mark that is to be filed electronically under four classes in each jurisdiction, with six items of goods or services to be specified under each class. For instance, the applicant could be a travel organizer wishing to register under Class 36 (Insurance and Foreign Currency Exchange Services), Class 39 (Services Related to Travel Arrangements), Class 41 (Education Services), and Class 43 (Services for Providing Food, Drink, and Temporary Accommodation).

We shall further consider that a multi-class trademark application is to be filed in China, Russia, and India, with a single priority being claimed and the services being described on a single page. In South Africa and Brazil, on the other hand, multi-class applications are not legally permissible. Therefore, we shall consider that four separate trademark applications are to be filed.

For the above scenario, the total costs to get the trademarks registered, from filing through registration, are approximately $13,200. The costs are based on the assumption that the applications get registered without any objections from the respective Trademark Offices, with no oppositions being filed after publication. As shown in Table 1, the estimated costs are spread across the two different stages of the trademark process: Trademark Filing and Trademark Registration. The costs in China and Russia are inclusive of Value Added Tax, which has been added to the attorney charges and translation costs.

Trademark Filing Costs and Translation Costs

The estimated trademark filing costs are inclusive of the attorney charges for handling the priority claim in all five jurisdictions, in addition to the costs of translating the specification of services into the official language in the relevant jurisdictions.

In India, the estimated trademark filing costs are inclusive of the attorney charges for reporting the publication of the application; and the attorney charges for handling the stamping of the Power of Attorney.

In Russia, the estimated trademark filing costs are inclusive of the basic official trademark examination fee; the official trademark examination fees for requesting the examination of an application in each additional class beyond the first class; and the attorney charges for handling the application in each additional class beyond the first class.

Trademark Registration Costs

An official fee is charged at the trademark registration stage in Brazil, China, and Russia. India and South Africa, on the other hand, do not charge trademark registration fees.

Trademark Cost Calculator

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Venkatesh Viswanath (Senior Content Strategist, Quantify IP) contributed to this article.
Exchange Rates Used: 1 U.S. Dollar = 4.16 Brazilian Real; 6.85 Chinese Renminbi; 71.39 Indian Rupees; 68.08 Russian Rubles; and 15.38 South African Rands
Note: The estimates and fees depicted in this article are based on the Official Fee Schedules as on September 17, 2018

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