National trademark filings holding steady
The Spanish Patent and Trademark Office has released its annual report for 2012. Surprisingly, the number of trademark applications filed continues to be substantial, despite inroads made by the Community trademark (CTM), and even though Spain has been going through difficult economic times.
According to the report, in 2012 there were 44,029 Spanish multiclass trademark filings - practically the same as in 2011, when filings totalled 44,116. To date, filing levels in 2013 have been on a par to those in 2012, with 30,487 applications filed until the end of August. While the boom times may be over (eg, there were over 80,000 applications in 2000), in the past few years the decline has slowed down and numbers even started to increase:
- 2009: 42,437 applications.
- 2010: 43,364 applications.
- 2011: 44,116 applications.
- 2012: 44,029 applications.
Arguably, this may reflect the growing confidence in the future of Spain's economy, but the uncertainty created by the Court of Justice of the European Union's decision in the ONEL case (Case C-149/11) may also have played a role. Depending on one's viewpoint, the court's judgment could be construed as meaning that use of a CTM in a single EU member state may not suffice to ward off an attempt to revoke the mark on the grounds of non-use. This judgment reversed previous case law and may spark an interest by CTM owners in strengthening protection for their marks by means of supplementary national filings. This may also have an impact on the renewal of Spanish trademarks.
In its report, the Patent and Trademark Office also released statistics on criminal activity involving intellectual and industrial property. The Spanish police forces seized nearly 9 million counterfeit items worth an estimated €694 million. They carried out 2,348 raids, and 2,101 people were arrested and charged. The audio-visual, electronic, machinery and toy sectors were the most affected.
On a positive note, counterfeiting and piracy were down 31% from the previous year.
Luis Soriano, Elzaburu, Madrid
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