GENEVA — L’Oréal was the world’s top filer of international trademark applications in 2019 with a total of 189, up from 169 a year earlier, while Shiseido was ranked seventh with 84 filings, up from 79 a year earlier, a report by the World Intellectual Property Organization said.

Intellectual property, the report said, “is increasingly at the heart of global competition.”

Indeed, the latest findings by the Geneva-based agency show that fashion and beauty companies were active filers in concerted efforts to protect their brands and commercial interests worldwide.

The WIPO data reveal that Abercrombie & Fitch Europe SA made 35 filings, while Louis Vuitton Malletier made 26; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton fragrance brands, 25; Lidl, the German retail chain, and Too Faced Cosmetics LLC filed 24 each; Chanel SARL and Hermès International, 22 each, and Cartier International AG, 19.

Overall, there were 6,634 new filings of international trademarks in apparel and footwear last year, WIPO said, noting that international trademark applications in all sectors increased by 5.7 percent to 64,400, with U.S.-based applicants making 10,087 filings (up 14.3 percent on 2018), the top country for number of applicants, followed by those located in Germany (7,700), China (6,339), France (4,437) and Switzerland (3,729).

Concerning the impact the coronavirus pandemic crisis will have on innovation and intellectual property, Francis Gurry, WIPO director-general, told reporters in a virtual news conference, “the impact will be huge, it will be extremely significant.”

But Gurry, an Australian-trained lawyer, cautioned, “We don’t really know at this stage how deep the economic crisis is, or will be, and for how long it will last. These are two very important parameters in making an evaluation of the impact of the crisis…”

The WIPO chief said in the area of trademarks the economic disruption obviously is having a huge impact.

On other intellectual property matters, the report said protection of industrial designs via the Hague System for the  international registration of industrial designs posted a 10.4 percent increase to 21,807 designs and included  registrations by luxury goods companies among the top 50 applicants, such as Swatch AG with 178 registrations; Richemont International S.A. with 96; Patek Philippe SA, 85, and Cartier International AG, with 70 registrations.

Finally, WIPO said trademark owners filed a record 3,693 cybersquatting cases with the agency’s Arbitration and Mediation Center last year as businesses “acted to counter the abuses of their trademarks in the domain name system.” The fashion industry accounted for  around 8 percent of the complainant activity, it said.

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