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International Trademark Protection Costs: Trailblazers of Innovation

Published on 13 March 2019

In one of our previous articles, Innovation Battlefront: Patent Protection Costs for Trailblazers, we illuminated the costs of protecting inventions and innovations (i.e. the costs of patent protection) in the top five innovative economies of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. In this article, we shall delve into the costs of brand protection (i.e. the costs of trademark filing and registration) in the economies that serve as trailblazers of innovation.

Global Innovation Index

The Global Innovation Index is a detailed quantitative tool that "ranks 126 economies based on 80 indicators, ranging from Intellectual Property filing rates to mobile-application creation, education spending, and scientific and technical publications."

The 11th edition of the Index (i.e. the 2018 Version) was released on July 10, 2018, with "Energizing the World with Innovation" as its theme. As per the latest rankings, the top ten innovative economies are: Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the United States of America, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Ireland. Of the ten economies, eight economies are situated within Europe, with Singapore being located in Asia and the United States being located in North America.

Firm Innovation and Trademark Registrations Are Correlated

In a bid to "provide more reliable and detailed empirical insights into the commercial and social outcomes of trademark ownership", the United States Patent and Trademark Office published the findings of its research in a paper titled "An Anatomy of U.S. Firms Seeking Trademark Registration" in May 2018.

The authors of the paper found that firms with Research and Development (R&D) activities and patent application filings are also very likely to apply for trademark registrations. Further, they also found that "for at least some firms, trademarks may capture innovative outputs of R&D investment not accounted for by patents." Their initial findings provide "preliminary evidence that trademark filings are correlated with firm innovation and that trademark-based metrics may serve to improve measurement of innovation in the economy."

Trademark Filings in the Most Innovative Economies

In the year 2016, the National Intellectual Property/Trademark Offices of Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the United States of America, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Ireland collectively received more than 1,075,000 trademark applications. Of these, about half of the total applications were filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, with another one-third being filed with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and the Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom.

However, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Ireland are also members of the European Union, which implies that community trademarks registered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office are also valid in these jurisdictions. The European Union Intellectual Property Office received 369,970 trademark applications in 2016.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, is unique and does not have a National Trademark Office. Trademarks registered either through the European Union Intellectual Property Office or the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property are valid in the Netherlands. The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property received more than 65,000 trademark applications in 2016. In one of our previous articles, we delved into the costs of trademark protection in the Benelux Union.

The aforementioned numbers are based on the World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017 report published by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The Madrid System for the International Registration of Trademarks

The top ten innovative economies are all members of the Madrid System. The System is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization and facilitates the international filing and registration of trademarks in a centralized, cost-effective, and streamlined manner in over 100 countries. Samoa was the latest to join the bandwagon on December 4, 2018.

A trademark registered under the Madrid System is valid for ten years from the date of recordal of the mark in the International Register and can be renewed for successive ten-year periods.

International Trademark Protection Costs

Let us now discuss the costs involved in protecting trademarks in the most innovative economies and, subsequently, getting them registered under the Madrid System. Typically, there are two categories of costs involved: official fees and attorney charges.

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 an international trademark application with a single priority claim, which is to be filed electronically under the Madrid Protocol, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as the originating office. For the purposes of this article, we shall consider that the international trademark application is to be filed under four classes (multi-class application), with the aforementioned jurisdictions (except the United States) being designated in the application. 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 the Netherlands is to be designated through the Benelux Union.

For the above scenario, the estimated costs of trademark protection under four classes in the United States and the Madrid Protocol designated countries, from filing through registration, are approximately $3,400 and $5,500, respectively. 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. Further, the costs are exclusive of the attorney charges for the filing of the international trademark application under the Madrid System.

International Trademark Filing Fees

The estimated costs of filing the international trademark application under the Madrid Protocol are inclusive of the basic international application filing fee, the certification fee charged by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the complementary fee, the supplementary fee for filing in additional class beyond the third class, and the individual fees charged by some of the designated countries.

The complementary fee is applicable only to Germany, with the other jurisdictions charging individual fees for the international application, in addition to a fee for filing in each additional class beyond either the first class (Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) or the third class (Benelux Union, Denmark, and Switzerland). The fees in Singapore, on the other hand, are on a 'per-class' basis.

The approximate individual fees vary between $243 in Singapore (for each class) to $452 (for the first three classes) in Switzerland (Figure 1). With the exception of Denmark and Switzerland, the individual fees for the other jurisdictions are more or less similar and vary between $228 in the United Kingdom to $276 in the Benelux Union.

The approximate additional class fees, on the other hand, vary between $42 in the Benelux Union to $730 in Singapore (Figure 2). In the jurisdictions that charge a fee for filing in each additional class beyond the third class, said fees are below $100, and vary from $42 in the Benelux Union to $84 in Denmark. In the jurisdictions that charge a fee for filing in each additional class beyond the first class, said fees vary from $190 in the United Kingdom to $730 in Singapore.

International Trademark Cost Calculators

Worried about keeping pace with the dynamic trademark costs landscape? The Global IP Estimator and the Portfolio Estimator – Trademarks are smart, robust, and state-of-the-art international Trademark cost calculators from the stables of Quantify IP, which greatly simplify the arduous and challenging task of Intellectual Property budgeting management. They offer what traditional Intellectual Property docketing software and trademark portfolio management software do not - they can instantly and accurately calculate the costs of worldwide protection for either a single patent; trademark; design; or utility model, or a portfolio of trademarks, respectively. The calculations may be fine-tuned to the level of any particular stage of an Intellectual Property across its lifecycle, such as patent annuity costs or trademark renewal costs. Therefore, they can also function as patent annuity cost calculators or trademark renewal cost calculators.

The addition of Quantify IP's Intellectual Property Cost Calculators has empowered the decision-makers in many Fortune 500 companies and over 70% of the top 100 IP law firms in the U.S to solve diverse challenges in managing Intellectual Property budgets. To see what our Intellectual Property portfolio software can do for you, email us at qipcontact@quantifyip.com or call us at +1-808-891-0099.

Venkatesh Viswanath (Senior Content Strategist, Quantify IP) contributed to this article.
Exchange Rate Used: 1 U.S. Dollar = 0.99 Swiss Francs
Note: The estimates and fees depicted in this article are based on the Official Fee Schedules as on October 18, 2018

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