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Edinburgh firm hails climate of prosperity for indigenous food and drink makers amid significant rise in trade marks and patents

Posted: 19th November 2018

UK trade mark applications originating from Scotland have risen by a quarter in the past year despite Brexit fears – and intellectual property specialist Marks & Clerk has hailed the food and drink sector’s strong contribution.

Recent data from the Intellectual Property Office[1] shows that trade mark applications from north of the border rose from 2,736 in 2016 to 3,417 in 2017 (24.8%), while registrations increased from 2,288 to 2,883 (26%) in the same period.

This represents a significant increase on last year’s figures which saw applications rise from 2,448 in 2015 to 2,736 in 2016 (11.7%), with registrations increasing from 2,013 to 2,288 (13.6%) in the same period.

Likewise, the data indicates a healthy patenting picture, with Scottish applications rising from 753 in 2016 to 855 in 2017 (13.5%), and 281 published in 2016 compared to 2017’s 303 (7.8%). A total of 157 Scottish patents were granted in 2017 – marking a 21.7% rise on the previous year’s total of 129.

Campbell Newell, a partner in Marks & Clerk’s Edinburgh office, notes that the spike in applications – including a recent upsurge of craft brewers and distillers – indicates that the Scottish food and drink sector is continuing to thrive despite Brexit concerns.

Campbell said: “Scotland has always punched above its weight when it has come to producing ambitious entrepreneurs making their mark both nationally and internationally and our food and drink and tourism sectors are the envy of the world. These sectors have been carefully grown through hard work and innovation, however, and protecting this is crucial.

“It’s therefore great to see that Scottish businesses are continuing to recognise the importance of protecting and investing in their intellectual property – something we are seeing repeated across our Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen offices.

“The results of this savvy approach to protecting innovation and value is clear to see. The Scottish brewery sector for example has grown massively since 2010 thanks to an explosion in the popularity of craft beers with 115 breweries operating in 2018, compared to just 35 eight years ago.

“Likewise there are now 128 malt and grain distilleries in Scotland, giving the country the largest concentration of whisky producers in the world, and buy local initiatives are reaping dividends.

“It all serves to reaffirm Scotland’s status as a leading marketplace for ambitious young businesses looking to make their mark.”

The data also shows Scotland has outperformed Wales and Northern Ireland in both trade mark and patenting areas.

Wales filed 1,431 trade mark applications in 2016, rising to 1,700 in 2017 (18.7%), and made 1,201 registrations, rising to 1,332 (10.9%) across the same period.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s trade mark applications increased from 565 to 687 (21.5%). Its registrations rose from 447 to 549 (22.8%).

For patents, Wales recorded a drop in applications from 469 to 382 (-18.5%), while the figure remained static at 193 for applications published.

Northern Ireland recorded a modest rise in patent applications, increasing from 156 to 158 (1.2%), while the number of applications published dropped from 86 to 83 (-3.4%).

[1] Official Statistics. Facts and figures: patent, trade mark, design and hearing administrative data 2016 and 2017 calendar years (From Intellectual Property Office)

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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