26 September 2014Trademarks

Brand owners concerned about emerging market laws

The biggest challenge facing international brand owners is inadequate legal structures in emerging markets, according to a global survey conducted by the trademark practice of the law firm Hogan Lovells.

This was said to be a key concern by 32% of the respondents to the survey of 58 multinational companies from a range of industries including food and drink, technology, media and telecommunications, life sciences and manufacturing, with a focus on those with headquarters in the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

It was followed closely by worries about a lack of harmonisation of trademark laws and crowded trademark registries. China was said to pose the greatest challenges when filing trademarks, with 28% of respondents saying China was the most difficult jurisdiction in which to enforce trademarks. It was followed closely by other Asian countries.

The law firm’s report, which focused on the challenges companies face when filing and enforcing their trademarks around the world, also found that a significant number of those surveyed regarded China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan as the countries likely to see the greatest increase in expenditure on trademark filing and enforcement over the next five years.

"Despite clear and common frustrations companies have with prosecuting and enforcing trademarks in Asia, we can expect to see an increased number of applications. This market will only continue to grow and develop so branding will remain a key tool in competing successfully," said Lloyd Parker, Hogan Lovells’ head of IP.

In Asia, where, on average, the trademark team size is considerably lower than in Western companies, the main concern among trademark teams was said to be insufficient understanding and co-operation from their business units. Western companies were more concerned about insufficient budgets to increase their team headcount and carry out desired work.

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