Leap Day 2020 - When Time Is On Your Side

Lisa Wright,

Do you ever wish that you had more time to get things done? Well this year you do. 2020 is a leap year and we all have 366 days to get things done. 

To mark this moment in time we took a look at the history and origins of Leap Day and investigated whether there are any unusual leaps in trademark activity on February 29th in 2008, 2012 and 2016!

Leap Day lore

Leap Day was introduced by Julius Caesar more than two thousand years ago as a means of keeping the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical year or seasonal year. It is a way of correcting the drift over time.  

And February 29th has been a day of customs, folklore and superstitions ever since. Here are five of the most well-known traditions to ponder upon:

1. Sisters were doing it for themselves

According to an old Irish legend, St. Brigid and St. Patrick struck a deal that allowed women to take the initiative and propose to men. This tradition is thought to have been introduced in order to balance the traditional roles of men and women in much the same way as Leap Day balances our calendar.

2. Unlucky for some

Greeks consider it unlucky for couples to marry at any time during a Leap Year, and particularly on Leap Day itself. And not too long ago in Scotland, it was still thought unlucky for someone to be born on February 29th.

3. Gloves off

In many European countries tradition dictated that any man who refused a woman's proposal on Leap Day had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. This was so that the woman could then wear the gloves to disguise the embarrassment of not wearing an engagement ring.

4. Birthday club

Anyone born on February 29th is automatically invited to join the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies. At last count there were over 11 thousand international members and naturally this number will rise in 2020!

5. St. Oswald’s Day

Leap Day shares its place in time with St Oswald’s Day, named after the archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992.

It’s Leap Day, not sleep day

February 29th comes but once every four years, which means it's important to make the most of the extra day afforded to you. What you do with this gift of time is up to you. Whether that means being more productive at home or at work, or taking the time to tick an item off your bucket list, the decision is all yours!

And it appears that trademark attorneys have not been wasting this extra day awarded to them during the last three leap years. An analysis of our trademark data when searching for trademark activity in the USPTO and EUIPO on February 29th in 2008, 2012 and 2016 revealed steady, incremental growth in both Registries and hats off to the USPTO!

Leap in trademark activity in the USPTO and EUIPO

2008 - USPTO

  • In the USPTO just over 1,200 trademarks were filed on Leap Day 2008.
  • Taking full advantage of this extra day were the top 3 representatives: Christopher J. Schulte, Merchant & Gould and Melinda B. Buurma
  • The top 3 products are found in class 35 (advertising, marketing and promotional services), class 25 (hats) and class 41 (entertainment).

2008 - EUIPO

  • Over 300 trademarks were filed on February 29th 2008.
  • Maximizing productivity were the top 3 representatives: De Gaulle Fleurance & Associes, Ladas & Parry and Jacobacci & Partners S.P.A
  • The top 3 products are all found in class 35: advertising, marketing and promotional services; business management assistance; and business administration services.

2012 - USPTO

  • February 29th 2012 saw a leap in trademark registrations! More than 1,300 trademarks were filed on this day in the USPTO.
  • Top products are found in class 35, as well as in class 25 (hats and vest tops). 
  • The top 3 representatives on this day were Daniel D. Chapman, Jackson Walker and The Trademark.

2012 - EUIPO

2016 - USPTO

  • The growth in trademark activity in the USPTO continued on February 29th 2016. Over 1,500 trademarks were filed. 
  • Top 3 products were all found in class 25: shirts (5.3%); hats (5.2%) and vest tops (5.1%).
  • Our top 3 busy bee representatives on the day came from Brinks Gilson & Lione, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie and Jack Silver.

2016 - EUIPO

  • More than 450 trademarks were filed on Leap Day in 2016 in the EUIPO.
  • Capitalizing on the extra 24 hours in hand were top 3 representatives Elzaburu, Taylor Wessing and Kilburn & Strode.
  • Top of the products were software (class 9), Advertising, marketing and promotional services (class 35) and new chart entry by science and technology services (class 42)!

TrademarkNow will be announcing Leap Day 2020 trademark activity updates on our Social Media channels shortly after February 29th so please connect with us below to stay informed!

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This leap year trademark attorneys, paralegals, marketing and branding teams can now all work together and collaborate seamlessly from anywhere in the world on one platform. This means that you can all stay informed at every stage of the trademark assembly line - to screen, clear and monitor new brands. 

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