By Trevor Little
April 10 2012
While the dispute over the IPAD trademark continues in China, Apple’s brand marches on. In the latest Brand Finance Global 500 rankings, Apple has leapfrogged Google to be named as the world’s most valuable brand, achieving the highest ever valuation calculated by Brand Finance.
WTR has previously reported on the technology giant’s battle with Proview over ownership of the IPAD trademark in China. Last week, a creditor’s application to liquidate Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co was rejected, clearing the company to continue its dispute with Apple over the mark.
But better news for the company came with the release of the Brand Finance Global 500 rankings. With a brand value of $70.6 billion, Apple led a top-10 list of the world’s most valuable brands dominated by technology companies – with Google ($47.5 billion), Microsoft ($45.8 billion), IBM ($39.1 billion), Samsung ($38.2 billion) and Amazon ($28.7 billion) all in the mix. The performance of technology brands (with high-end fashion another robust sector) contributed to an increase in the overall value of the Global 500 of 3.3% - to $3,415 billion.
It is the 132% increase in Apple’s brand value that really catches the eye though – 12 months ago it was valued at $29.5 billion.
Over the same 12-month period, Apple’s enterprise value (the market value of its shareholder equity and long-term debt, less any cash surplus to operational requirements) rose from $350 billion to $500 billion. With the tangible assets required to run the business valued at $50 billion, this means the implied intangible value of Apple was $450 billion in March 2012.
Amongst the intangibles Apple boasts are technology intangibles (eg, patents and know-how), contractual intangibles and customer intangibles (eg, long-term supplier deals). While David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, notes that “Apple’s brand is just one of many assets within this colossal intangible asset pile”, he adds that “its brand has helped to drive the phenomenal growth in enterprise value”.
The figures clearly demonstrate the value a strong brand can instil – with trademarks the central component. Hence, battles for the control of marks such as IPAD are well worth fighting.
The top 10 consisted of:
1. Apple ($70.6 billion)
2. Google ($47.5 billion)
3. Microsoft ($45.8 billion)
4. IBM ($39.1 billion)
5. Walmart ($38.3 billion)
6. Samsung ($38.2 billion)
7. General Electric ($33.2 billion)
8. Coca-Cola ($31.1 billion)
9. Vodafone ($30 billion)
10. Amazon ($28.7 billion)
The forthcoming issue of WTR will present in-depth analysis of the Brand Finance Global 500, and the role trademarks play in leveraging value.
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