IP depts struggle to be heard over TM infringement


Rory O'Neill

IP depts struggle to be heard over TM infringement

Vitalii Vodolazskyi / Shutterstock.com

Trademark infringement has hit an all-time high, with social media proving particularly troublesome for brand owners, a new report has found.

Clarivate’s latest report on the 2021 Trademark Ecosystem, based on a survey of 300 trademark professionals, revealed that infringement affected almost nine-in-ten respondents in 2020, with 67% saying trademark enforcement had become more difficult.

Half of respondents identified social media as a major cause of concern when it came to infringement, overtaking web domains as the most commonly reported site of infringement.

For almost two-thirds of those who took the survey, the costs of dealing with infringement rose from 2019, while more than half said their companies had changed a brand name after suffering from infringement.

These trends appear even more pronounced in Japan, where 87% of respondents said trademark enforcement had become more difficult, while 88% reported changing a brand name due to infringement.

Another key finding of the report was that businesses suffer when executives, or the “C-suite”, don’t pay close enough attention to IP issues.

“High numbers of professionals report their organisation could not take up trademark-related business opportunities, such as licensing or moving into global markets and partnerships, because top-level management was not engaged,” said the report.

For 88%, this led to respondents’ businesses missing out on a revenue opportunity or IP rights. A fifth said the board room was not involved at all in their company’s IP issues.

“In today’s global economy, brand portfolios must compete on an international scale, adapt to new opportunities and respond fast to threats that arrive with little warning. Organisations must remain strategic and alert, making full use of all tools and technologies available to increase competitiveness, boost agility and enhance their market position,” said Jeff Roy, president of Clarivate’s IP group.

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Trademark, infringement, Clarivate, C-Suite, social media