Record TM filings at the USPTO—but do they conceal a darker picture?


Muireann Bolger

Record TM filings at the USPTO—but do they conceal a darker picture?

Jer123 /

An unprecedented growth in trademark applications at the USPTO, largely driven by Chinese filers, has been welcomed as a positive sign of economic recovery amid the pandemic. But it raises questions around the future legitimacy of US trademarks and brands. Muireann Bolger reports.

Amid the turmoil wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been experiencing another unexpected upheaval—an unparalleled growth in the number of trademark applications.

According to IP data firm Clarivate, trademark filing activity at the USPTO has been growing by 10% per month since April. In a speech at the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting last month, USPTO director Andrei Iancu revealed that August was the office’s biggest filing month yet, with 76,400 classes.

Meanwhile, the office is on track to file more than 700,000 classes for the year, compared to 673,233 in 2019. According to Clarivate, Chinese applicants accounted for 30% of all US trademark applications; in September this soared to 43%.

USPTO, trademark application, IP data, Clarivate, COVID-19, Andrei Iancu, patent filings, social justice, Amazon, Alibaba, branding, squatting, bad faith