Worldwide trademark and industrial design-creation activity rose in 2019 even as global patent bids dipped with China still the powerhouse, while Turkey is emerging as one of the top 20 trademark filers, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said Monday.

The activity rose in 2019 even as the number of global patent applications dipped slightly on weaker demand in IP (Intellectual Property) powerhouse China, WIPO’s benchmark World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report showed.

The WIPI’s 2019 figures, which pre-date the COVID-19 pandemic, stress the long-building growth in demand for the intellectual property tools that incentivize an increasingly global and digital-focused global economy, said WIPO Director-General Daren Tang.

“The robust use of intellectual property tools shows high levels of innovation and creativity at the end of 2019, just at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tang, giving his first press conference since he assumed his post on Oct. 1.

“The pandemic has accelerated long-building trends by fostering the adoption of new technologies and accelerating the digitization of everyday life.”

Trademarks rose by 5.9% and industrial design filing activity by 1.3%. A 3% decline in global patent applications, the first fall in a decade, was driven by a drop in filings by Chinese residents. Excluding China, global patent filings rose 2.3%, said WIPO, a UN organization.

An estimated 11.5 million trademark applications covering 15.2 million classes were filed worldwide in 2019.

The number of classes specified in applications grew by 5.9% in 2019, marking a 10th successive year of growth.

Among the top 20 offices, the largest rises between 2018 and 2019 were in the IP offices of Brazil (+22.3%), Vietnam (+19.3%), Iran (+18.4%), Russia (+16.5%), and Turkey (+15.5%).

Tang said: “Because IP is so connected to technology, innovation, and digitalization, IP will become even more important to a greater number of countries in the post-COVID world.”

Referring to Turkey, the WIPO chief said: “My sense is that the Turkish IP office has been doing an amazing job promoting IP.

“Turkey is not just doing well in trademarks; it’s doing very well in designs.

“Turkey was for a number of years, the largest filer of designs into Singapore. Turkey also is one of the top filers of patents,” said Tang, a national of Singapore.

He noted: “I think that Turkey’s strengths in trademarks and designs, shows and reflects a bit of the attitude to the flair for design, for aesthetics and the ability to brand.”

Tang said that IP was traditionally seen as very technical, which it is, but it is also more than that.

He added: “We need to connect IP to the world. We need to mainstream IP. And we need to start seeing it not just as a vertical but as a horizontal catalyst for jobs for enterprise growth, economic development, and cultural and social vibrancy.

“IP is a tool to make our lives better and to make the lives of our communities and peoples better. … We need to connect IP to the world.”

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