The rise of blockchain globally has been swift with the notable exception of China where such applications have now been made unlawful. While we can expect the number of related trademarks to continue to accelerate upwards, you can see quick snapshots of current trademarks which contain the word ‘blockchain’ in their goods and services description below:
While there were a few trademark registrations using the term ‘block chain’ in their goods and services description prior to 2014, these products do not seem to relate to blockchain technology as it is understood today. As you can see from the graph above, applications for blockchain technology really only began in any substantial way in 2014 and the upward trajectory is very sharp.
An examination of the history of blockchain in trademarks showed that early innovation began in Europe and this is borne out further by the nationalities of companies registering significant volumes of trademarks for products or activities related to blockchain. Of the top 5, 3 companies are based within Europe although interestingly from countries which are either not a Member State currently or are on the cusp of exiting the EU.
While companies based or headquartered in Europe may be taking the lead in terms of trademark registrations, the US is a popular destination for protection of those brands with almost half of all registrations issued by the USPTO. Canada and the EU are close together in second and third place. Perhaps surprisingly, Madrid applications only account for slightly above 2% of current registrations.
Unsurprisingly, given the relative youth of the Blockchain technology and associated applications, there aren’t as many expired or invalid applications as one would usually expect to see. Given the time frame, it is likely that these represent almost solely applications which did not qualify for registration for one reason or another.
It’s not certain whether such a rapid growth of a product within such a short time frame is unprecedented but it certainly does support the contention that blockchain is poised to become a part of all of our lives within a relatively short time. These developments will have important implications for brand owners seeking to build strong brands and protect them in a fast moving commercial world. Marty Schwimmer will present some of the most critical information that brand owners need to know about blockchain technologies in a free webinar hosted by TrademarkNow’s Tiffany Valeriano.