Trademark applications break records in Europe and overtake patent applications in Spain, according to data from the first half of 2021

This post is also available in: Spanish Catalan

The Intellectual Property sector has started to publish data related to its development during the first 6 months of 2021. From the figures disclosed by some institutions, we are able to compare some results with 2020 and work out the trend for the remainder of the year.

Trademarks take the lead

On the European level, the EUIPO has just published its analysis of the first 6 months of the year and the numbers are already setting records. The first half of 2021 ended with 101,021 EU trademark applications, representing a nearly 24% increase over the same period in 2020. This rising trend is also present in the case of Community designs, which have gone up 2%.

Comparison of EU Trademark Applications 2020-21. Source: EUIPO


In its report, the EUIPO considers that the data reflect the ongoing economic recovery in the EU while at the same time show a growing interest in IP rights as the key to success in business. Furthermore, the report highlights that if the trend keeps up, 2021 could end with a 20% increase with respect to the European estimates projected at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Within our own borders, National Spanish Trademark Applications are also maintaining a good pace, as can be seen from the provisional data disclosed by the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTMO) –OEPM, in Spanish. Figures from the first 6 months of 2021 have surpassed the figures from the same period in 2020 by 16.2%.

Comparison of National Spanish Trademark Applications 2020-21. Source: OEPM Statistics

Patent stalemate in Spain

The trend in the area of patents in Spain is the opposite of that seen in trademarks. The first data dump in connection with National Spanish Patent Applications from the OEPM shows a 12.1% drop compared to the first half of 2020.

Comparison of National Spanish Patent Applications 2020-21. Source: OEPM Statistics Department


The number of European Patents filed in the OEPM is also slightly less that registered last year.

Comparison of European Patent Applications filed in the OEPM 2020-21. Source: OEPM Statistics Department


The one piece of positive data in the patent statistics appears in the result of National Spanish Patent Grants, showing an increase of about 15.2%. This information is particularly interesting, as since 1 April 2017 all Spanish applications must necessarily pass a patentability exam, therefore patent rights granted are very strong.

Comparison of National Spanish Patent Grants 2020-21. Source: OEPM Statistics Department


Development per Autonomous Region

The data published by the OEPM also allows us to see how innovation is performing on a regional level. The first 6 months of 2021 offer the following provisional results per Autonomous Region relating to National Spanish Patent Applications. The following table shows a clear drop and a new regional 6-month Top 3: Madrid (135), Valencian Community (114) and Catalonia (80).

Comparison of National Spanish Patent Applications by Autonomous Region 2020-21. Source: OEPM Statistics Department


Despite a slight difference in figures seen in the data from Spain, all signs indicate that the end of 2021 will somewhat balance out the numbers. Moreover, and as Iain McGeoch, Associate and Responsible for ABG IP Euskadi, states, “Although patent data from 2021 seem to show a drop in innovative activity, it should be taken into consideration that 2020 was a year marked by the onset of the pandemic. A fact, which in turn led to a patent application boom driven by the ‘added’ inventions relating to COVID-19. However, while many of these COVID-19 applications are indeed registrations by all means, they are perceived as inventions having very little room for commercial growth, so it is impossible to conclude with absolute certainty that the lower number of patent applications in 2021 is the reflection of a generalised drop in innovative activity in Spain”.

In any case, the first few months of 2022 will reveal, whether or not, the estimates considered both in Spain and in Europe are met, along with the classifications by sectors.


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