By  on February 29, 2008

GENEVA — Two new reports from the World Intellectual Property Organization show strong increases in many fashion and beauty companies looking to protect their trademarks and inventions.

Cosmetics, textiles and apparel loom large in international trademark applications filed last year aimed at ensuring their distinct mark is protected in up to 80 countries, according to the WIPO study. It noted that a record 39,945 international trademark applications were received in 2007, included thousands covering textiles, apparel, cosmetics and footwear.

Top filers in the classification covering essential oils, perfumes and cosmetics included Henkel, Beiersdorf and Coty of Germany, L'Oréal of France and U.S.-based Beautybank. In textiles and apparel, top filers of international applications included China's Zhejiang Elegant Prosper Garment and Guangzhou Panyu South Start Co., Toyo Boseki of Japan and Germany's TUI.

Products in which companies sought broad international protection in textiles and apparel ranged from leather clothing, coats, bras, corsets and suspenders to bathrobes, cotton fabrics, embroidery and bedclothes.

A separate WIPO study on patent applications had the U.S. retaining its lead with a 2.6 percent increase in filings to 52,250, representing 33.5 percent of the world total. But the study also shows that Asian economies are challenging the dominance of rich industrialized nations in areas of technology and manufacturing processes.

In 2007, a record 156,100 international patent applications were filed worldwide, up 4.7 percent from 2006 under WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty, which administers a 138-member accord that allows for inventors and industry to obtain patent protection in multiple countries.

The applications last year were in hundreds of fields, but about 13,920, or 9.3 percent, were filed in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and 5,312, or 10.3 percent, in materials processing textiles and paper. The patents in cosmetics include more than 6,000 filings ranging from skin to hair treatment, and in textiles the listings range from garment fasteners, suspenders, shirts and baby linen to accessories, outerwear, finishing of yarns, weaving, sewing and embroidering.

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