Trademarking provides surprise boost to global economies

We’re all well aware of just how important it is for businesses to protect their trademarks and intellectual property. What’s much more surprising, however, is just how much of a positive impact the industry is having on economies on a much wider scale.

According to a study titled ‘Trademarks in Latin America’ recently published by the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property (ASIPI) and International Trademark Association (INTA), “trademark-intensive economic activities” have generated 18.5 million jobs in Latin America, equating to a 15% GDP contribution on average. The study covered Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru.

These findings prove that trademarking and intellectual property is incredibly important to wider economic growth, and there are several different factors at play. First of all, there’s the rapid growth of several emerging markets that rely heavily on trademarks, from craft beer and independent clothing to pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Then, importantly, there’s the expansion of the middle class in emerging markets, who are not only filing trademarks for products of their own, but also buying more products themselves, which opens the door for new brands to be created in order to meet the growing economic opportunity.

The report might only cover a small segment of the world, but the findings hint at a healthy global contribution. Speaking to World IP Review about the report, Etienne Sanz de Acedo, CEO of INTA, said: “Similar studies conducted in the EU and the US demonstrate the economic potential of intellectual property and how effective and efficient systems for registering and strengthening trademarks can contribute significantly to economic activity, employment and commerce.”

This potential that Sanz de Acedo speaks of can already be observed in a lot of markets, but particularly so in China. For years it’s been seen as a hub for fake and counterfeit goods, but now it’s trying to turn its reputation around by placing an increased focus on trademarks. In 2014 the country’s trademark growth rate jumped 71% year-on-year, with 1.7 million registered in total. Not only this, but it’s also handing out more severe penalties to companies found to be violating trademarks.

The ‘Trademarks in Latin America’ report really puts into perspective the role that trademarking plays in strengthening our economies, and hints at the future influence that trademarking might have on the wider world. As multinational brands stretch to reach further to uncharted corners of the globe and emerging markets for a whole new dimension of profitability.