Trademark Clearinghouse tops 5,000 registrations


More than 5,000 trademarks have been registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) since it launched in March, financial services company Deloitte revealed on Tuesday.

Deloitte, which is managing the centralised trademark database for protecting IP under the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) programme, said 23 percent of marks “relate to scientific or teaching apparatus, ranging from lifesaving medical equipment to computer software”.

Trademarks associated with advertising or business management account for a further 22 percent of registrations, while 16 percent cover sports or entertainment brands.

At the lower end of the scale are trademarks for pharmaceutical and medical products (0.8 percent), cosmetic goods (1 percent) and clothing and footwear (10 percent).

US filers account for nearly half the number of marks filed – 44 percent – while France leads the way in Europe, with 10 percent.

However, the role of trademark agents, which act for multiple rights owners, may distort these regional figures, said Deloitte.   

The company said the presence of so-called internationalised domain names, those in non-Latin scripts, has encouraged a significant number of applications from non-Western brands, from countries including Japan, China and Saudi Arabia.

According to the findings, nearly two thirds of records have been registered for one year, despite three-year (38 percent) and five-year registration periods (2 percent) being available.

Jan Corstens, Deloitte partner, said: “It’s positive to see good early take up with holders proactively recording their trademarks in the TMCH, but for mark holders who are yet to do so it is critical to take these steps now. This is all the more important when there is a clear consumer interest in doing so. The TMCH is the only available mechanism that offers trademark protection across every single new domain extension being launched. Failing to enter the TMCH and being unaware of who may intend to abuse your trademark in order to potentially market imitation goods or services can have serious consequences.”

“Mark holders should not wait until the new gTLDs go live to submit data. Opting to wait may leave trademarks unprotected, as it can take up to 30 days for submissions to be processed. This could mean they leave themselves open to a window of vulnerability if marks are not registered in advance. The early bird system operated by the Clearinghouse means there is no penalty for recording marks early, so entering marks immediately will mean rights owners are safe in the knowledge they will benefit from protections as soon as the first domain is launched,” Corstens added.

ICANN signed the first new gTLD registry contracts this week, and is expected to delegate the first domains onto the Internet this autumn. 

This article was first published on 16 July 2013 in World IP Review

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