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Australian Intellectual Property Report 2021

Australian Intellectual Property Report 2021

Trade marks

A trade mark is a type of intellectual property and consists of a sign that distinguishes the goods and services of one trader from another trader in the marketplace. A registered trade mark gives the owner a 10-year period of protection over the trader’s exclusive rights to use, license and sell the mark. The registration is renewable for successive periods of ten years.

Trade mark applications and registrations

The year 2020 saw an 8% increase from 2019 in the number of trade mark applications made in Australia as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell to a 7% mark. The number of trade mark applications filed rose to 81,702.

The same is true for trade mark registrations which rose 10% from its 2019 level. The number of registrations reached were 64,086.

Resident and non-resident filings

Trade mark applications in Australia increased mostly because there were more Australian resident filings made in 2020. A total of 51,662 trade mark applications were made by residents who applied and that makes up a 17% increase from 2019. The total resident filings were broken down into multi-party applications numbering 3,818 and single applications at 47,844.

On the other hand, non-resident applications saw a 4% decline from 2019. Of the 30,040, 29,677 applications were by single non-resident applicants and there were 63 international co-applicants who were not Australian residents.

Australian residents made up more trade mark registrations amounting to 35,033 trade marks while non-residents registered only 29,053 trade marks. These make up an 11% and 7% increase from the 2019 level, respectively.

Trade mark classes

Trade marks are classified into 45 classes using an international classification system called the Nice Classification System (NCL). The total applications filed under one or more Nice classes were 148,104 classes.

The top five classes that saw an increase in filings are:

  • Surgical and medical apparatus at a 23% increase from 2019
  • Pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations up at 23%
  • Clothing and footwear up at 13%
  • Non-medicated cosmetics and toiletries up at 13%, and
  • Legal services increased at 12%.

Meanwhile, the classes that decreased in numbers were “Medical and Veterinary services” down at 10% and “Transport Services” down at 9%. These trends show the high demand for products to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the different levels of impact on society as restrictions on businesses are implemented to check the spread of the virus.

States and territories

In 2020, trade mark applications from all over the states and territories of Australia stepped up from their 2019 levels except for the Northern Territory. Applications from New South Wales had the highest number at 18,286, seconded by Victorian applicants at 16,105. However, Victoria dominated with the most applications per capita at 2.2 per thousand people and the highest increase rate at 21%.

Of the total resident applications, a combined number amounted to 118 applicants involved in interstate partnerships. Among them were 28 from New South Wales and Queensland, 17 from New South Wales and Victoria, and 17 from Queensland and Victoria.

Leading applicants

A large-scale maker of steel products, Bluescope Steel led the top 5 ranking domestic applicants with 215 applications followed by Australian Blue Moon Hero a producer of pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations that includes dietary supplements and substances suitable for medical use with 125 applications. The third place with 119 applications goes to Aristocrat Technologies, a maker of gaming machines. In fourth place is Coles Group, with 105 applications that are related to advertising and business management methods. With 96 applications, Pinnacle Liquor Group kept its fifth rank from 2019.

Countries of origin

For every year since 2015, the United States (US), China, United Kingdom (UK), Germany and Japan have been the major countries of origin of trade mark applications aside from Australia. In 2020, the US has 8,918 trade mark applications; China has 4,815 applications; the UK has 2,215 applications; 1,709 are from Germany; and 1,323 are from Japan. Only Japan has maintained its level of filings while the rest have gone down.

There was a total of 97 applications from other countries. From these, there are 16 applications that involved Australians with co-applicants from Hong Kong, 15 with American co-applicants, and 7 with Chinese co-applications.

The number of international applications took a downturn in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Madrid system is an alternative way of filing trade mark applications that allows the filing of a single trade mark in multiple countries. In 2020, there were 16,872 applications in Australia that were made through the Madrid System.

Australian filings overseas

In 2019, Australian residents made a total of 20,573 trade mark applications abroad. These applications had 47,983 class nominations, showing a 10% increase from 2018. 19% of all the class nominations were applied for in China, 15% were for the US, 12% were for New Zealand, and 6% were for the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

Takeaway Points:

  • Both trade mark applications and trade mark registrations saw in Australia a rise in the year 2020, as per Australian Intellectual Property Report.
  • The increase in applications were a result of Australian residents making more filings in 2020
  • The top 5 classes that increased in trade mark filings were Surgical and Medical Apparatus, Pharmaceutical and Veterinary Preparations, Clothing and Footwear, Non-medicated Cosmetics and Toiletries, and lastly, Legal Services
  • In 2020, trade mark applications from all over the states and territories of Australia rose to higher levels except the Northern Territory, and
  • In 2020 as per Australian Intellectual Property Report, trade mark applications in Australia substantially increased, specifically during lockdown periods, as governments imposed measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Our Trademark Lawyers in Sydney are Experts when it comes to Registering Trademark or Trademark Opposition Process in Sydney


Jaclyn-Mae Floro, BCompSc

Contact W3IP Law on 1300 776 614 or 0451 951 528 for more information about any of our services or get in touch at
Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.

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