22 January 2018 at 06:00 BST

Global trademark infringements on the increase

French companies are more likely to sue over hashtag trademark infringements whilst German businesses put colour ahead.


Four in ten companies have reported an increase in global trademark infringement in the past year, according to new research. A survey by CompuMark revealed that almost three quarters of brands (74 per cent) experienced trademark infringement, impacting on the company's business. Customer confusion was identified as the biggest effect (44 per cent), followed by loss of revenue (40 per cent), reduced customer loyalty (34 per cent) and damage to reputation (33 per cent). One-third of companies said they had to change the name of one of their brands as a result of infringement, while more than half (56 per cent) took legal action against third-party infringements.

Combatting infringement

'Our report shows that trademark filing is on the increase,' Jeff Roy, president of CompuMark said. 'With the ease of doing business on a global scale, the continued emergence of new entrants into the market and the proliferation of additional channels, such as social media, to consider, finding a unique mark to register is harder than ever before. Brands will have to work harder than ever to combat infringement and mitigate the risks associated with it. As a result, the process of searching and watching trademarks is becoming increasingly important and will remain so into the future.'

Products and services

The research shows that the majority of trademark applications took place across products and services, logo and images, and company names. The survey also uncovered interesting international results around unusual trademark applications; trademark professionals in France showed a higher than average interest in trademarks for hashtags and sounds, while German respondents filed for more colour and smell trademarks.  


Professionals also identified a number of challenges that impact on filing including time pressures, budgets, globalisation and the lack of tools and resources. Bigger budgets (51 per cent), better technology (49 per cent) and more resources (48 per cent) were frequently cited as the solutions to overcome these issues. Brexit was also identified as having an effect, with 22 per cent of the sample saying they were filing more UK marks, and a further 31% filing more European Union (EU) marks.The research was commissioned by CompuMark, a division of Clarivate Analytics and surveyed 300 trademark professionals from in-house and external legal teams across the USA, UK, Germany and France to understand the state of the industry and the challenges faced. Source: CompuMark


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