The U.S. posted a 4.8 percent increase in apparel trademark applications in 2014 compared to a 2.27 percent increase worldwide, reflecting the growing importance placed by enterprises in protecting the intellectual property and commercial value of their brands, a report by the World Intellectual Property Organization revealed.

Overall in 2014, the apparel industry attracted the third-highest trademark activity and accounted for a 13.6 percent share from 5.19 million applications filed worldwide, just behind agriculture with a 16.5 percent share and Research & Development with 14.2 percent, WIPO said. In the U.S., apparel trademark applications reached 35,203.

The WIPO’s “2015 World Intellectual Property Indicators” also showed that apparel trademark applications registered robust double-digit gains in India, with filings up 21.8 percent to 14,047. But China managed a below-average increase in apparel trademark applications of just 1.68 percent to 219,981.

Apparel trademark activity was also vibrant last year in Mexico, with applications up 9.7 percent to 6,958 filings.

Above-average numbers were also recorded by Vietnam, with apparel trademark applications up 4.1 percent to 2,746.

Francis Gurry, WIPO director general, said demand for intellectual property rights “continued to grow in 2014” and noted that “we also see greater take-off” by middle-income countries.

Economists at the Geneva-based agency said 293 apparel trademark applications were filed last year in Bangladesh and 272 in Cambodia, both big exporters of apparel.

In Europe, increases in apparel trademarks were recorded in Germany, up 2.1 percent to 9,612; in Spain, up 6.3 percent to 4,107; the U.K., up 3 percent to 6,694, and in Italy apparel applications totaled 7,509.

Turkey, a traditional exporter of apparel, experienced a 4.4 percent contraction in apparel trademark applications to 11,169 filings, WIPO said.

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