The UK ranks very high for Australian businesses considering registering their trade marks in export markets.

This is confirmed by statistics released this week in the 2006 Annual Review of the UK Patent Office (due to the Gower Review now renamed The UK Intellectual Property Office). The Annual Review is a big PDF.

For Australian businesses the Annual Review answers many questions, helping to refine an IP strategy for the UK. For example, how many registrations were there from Australia? How does Australia rate as a source for trade mark registrations in the UK? Which companies are registering the most trade marks in the UK? Finally, which trade mark classes are the most popular for the UK?

In 2006, trade mark applicants noting Australia as their residence, registered 333 trade marks in the UK. They registered a further 497 using the Madrid Protocol system.

These numbers collectively put Australian applicants in the top 12 countries club, ranking along with those from Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Benelux, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Turkey, China, United States and Japan.  Each was the source of 500 or more trade mark registrations for the UK in 2006.

So what’s the domestic scene in the UK? There were 44,459 trade mark registrations by applicants noting the UK as their residence.

The table below lists the top 50 companies with the most trade marks granted by the UK Patent Office in 2006. It reproduces data on page 68 of the Review. Appearing after each company’s name is the number of its registrations in 2006 for the UK.

UK Top 50 Registered Trade Mark Owners Club

  1. Imperial Chemical Industries plc (197)
  2. AKZO Nobel Coatings International (130)
  3. Unilever plc (89)
  4. Glaxo Group Limited (76)
  5. Jonathan Dormer and Mandy Dormer (64)
  6. British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (63)
  7. National Lottery Commission (59)
  8. Aldi Stores Limited (58)
  9. Boots Company plc ((56)
  10. Coca Cola Company (55)
  11. GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals S.A (45)
  12. British Telecommunications Public Limited Company (43)
  13. Tesco Stores Limited (38)
  14. Johnson and Johnson (35)
  15. Tea Limited (35)
  16. J and P Coats Limited (34)
  17. Asda Stores Limited (33)
  18. Rehana Darr (33)
  19. Aggregate Industries UK Limited (31)
  20. Reckitt Benkiser UK Limited (30)
  21. J Sainsbury plc (29)
  22. Knowledge and Merchandising Ltd (29)
  23. British Sky Broadcasting Limited (28)
  24. Pfizer Products Inc (28)
  25. Select Appointments Holdings Limited (28)
  26. American Ironhorse Motorcycle Company Inc (27)
  27. Dunlop Slazenger Group Limited (27)
  28. Rok Productions Limited (27)
  29. Wyeth (27)
  30. Action Indoor Sports Stadiums Limited (26)
  31. United Biscuits Limited (26)
  32. Airport Direct Travel Limited (24)
  33. Next Retail Limited (24)
  34. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (23)
  35. EMAP Consumer Media Limited (23)
  36. Llexeter Ltd (23)
  37. Northern Bank Limited (23)
  38. Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (23)
  39. Société Des Produits Nestlé SA (23)
  40. Bitrez Ltd (22)
  41. Brand Handling International Limited (22)
  42. Cheese Company Limited (22)
  43. Neways Inc (22)
  44. Marks and Spencer plc (21)
  45. Procter and Gamble Company (21)
  46. Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance Group (21)
  47. Steven Harris (21)
  48. WM Wrigley Jr Company (21)
  49. Early Learning Centre Limited (20)
  50. FM Birch Ltd (20)

Among the most popular trade mark classes for registrations in the UK in 2006 were:

  • class 9 goods (scientific, nautical and surveying and electrical apparatus and instruments(including wireless etc)
  • class 16 goods (paper and paper articles, stationery, office requisites etc)
  • class 25 goods (clothing including boots shoes and slippers)
  • class 35 services (advertising; business management; business administration etc)
  • class 36 services (insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; etc)
  • class 41 services (education; entertainment; sporting and cultural applications)
  • class 42 services (scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial  analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software; legal services.

These statistics on popular trade mark classes include Madrid Protocol applications which listed the UK as one of the designated countries. The UK joined the Madrid Protocol in April 1996. Since then, a holder of a trade marks registration in another country (which is a member of the Protocol, eg Australia) can apply through the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to “designate” the UK for protection of that trade mark. The mark is then examined in the UK for registrability in much the same way as an application filed in the UK direct. For international trade mark applications using the Madrid Protocol helps minimise paperwork and often costs.

To refine your company’s IP strategy for the UK and the rest of Europe, view our Flash presentation at IP law and IP strategy in business. It draws on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s white paper here [PDF].

Noric Dilanchian