Pharma Trademark Activity — A Look Back at Class 5 in 2020

Jukka Immonen,

Did you know that in 2020, over 46,000 trademark applications were filed in Class 5 (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies) in the USPTO and the EUIPO?

This article provides an ExaMatch™ overview of Pharma trademark filing activity in Class 5 in these two territories during the last decade (2010-2020). We then focus on new Class 5 trademark applications in 2020, run a trademark search, and examine the status of these trademark applications, the top product descriptions, top filers, and top owner countries.

Did trademark applications in Nice Class 5 grow between 2010 and 2020?

Yes! Over the last decade, combined EUIPO and USPTO applications in Class 5 increased by 106%. The largest annual increase occurred between 2019 and 2020, when application volumes rose by 24%.

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Class 5 USPTO v EUIPO activity in 2020

More than 650,000 total trademark applications were filed in the USPTO in 2020, with just over 31,500 trademarks filed in Class 5. The EUIPO received in excess of 145,000 applications, of which just over 14,300 were filed in Class 5. While both registries had a substantial number of

new applications then, it is interesting to note that the USPTO had a much greater proportion of these, with an 81.7% share of the combined volume filed in 2020. At the time of writing, the percentage of valid trademark registrations in the EUIPO (62%) differs significantly from that of the USPTO (10%) — this is likely due to the sheer volume of USPTO applications and longer average processing times in the USPTO. You can read more about USPTO timeliness in the USPTO’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

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Class 5 — 2020 top products

Product-wise, ‘Dietary Supplements and Dietetic Preparations’ topped the list of the product descriptions in both the USPTO and EUIPO in 2020, with a ratio share of 36.2% in the USPTO and 40.8% in the EUIPO. ‘Vitamins and Mineral Supplements’ also featured on both lists in 2020, with a ratio share of 20.1% in the USPTO and 28.6% in the EUIPO.

The USPTO’s top five also contained ‘Nutritional Supplements’, as well as ‘Vitamins and Mineral Supplements’, ‘Dietary Supplements for Animals’, and ‘Antibacterial handwash’.

The EUIPO’s list included ‘Pharmaceuticals’, ‘Pharmaceuticals for Veterinary Use’, ‘Medical and Veterinary Preparations and Articles’, and ‘Vitamin and Mineral Supplements’.

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Class 5 — 2020 top filers

The Swiss owner, Novartis, featured in the top three owners list in both territories. The top filer in the USPTO in 2020 was Novartis (0.7%), followed by American owners Bristol-Myers Squibb (0.4%), and Celgene Corporation (0.4%) — a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In the EUIPO the top filer in 2020 was the American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company (0.8%), followed by Novartis (0.5%), and U.S. multinational Johnson & Johnson (0.3%).

Class 5 — 2020 top owner countries

Given the high number of USPTO applications, it is unsurprising that the United States of America dominated as top owner country for Class 5 trademark applications in the USPTO (71.6%). China (6.4%) and Canada (2.9%) took second and third positions in the list.

In the EUIPO, Germany topped the list (17.7%), followed by the United States of America (10.3%), and Italy (9.2%).

Final thoughts

China, in particular, is now regarded by many stakeholders as a key market for 2021 and beyond. Pharma multinationals who have previously entered the market through joint ventures with Chinese companies and research institutes are now looking to ramp up their growth in China through drug licensing and acquisitions.

The complexity of the trademark clearance, trademark registration, and brand protection processes, coupled with the increasing number of new players in the Pharma industry, represent just some of many challenges that trademark professionals working in the Pharma industry face today.

Are you going to PTMG@home?

PTMG@home will take place virtually on March 15th and 16th this year and we hope to see you at the Corsearch virtual booth! The theme of this conference is “Testing Times in the Twenties – Vaccines & Brexit”. The agenda includes:

  • Anti-counterfeiting during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The impact of Brexit on the falsified medicines directive and parallel trade
  • AI legal and ethical problems
  • How the Pharma industry tackled the challenge of COVID-19
  • A round up of international cases

Let’s talk

We hope to see you at the Corsearch virtual booth during PTMG@home! You can send in any queries in advance of the event to our Trademark Specialists and they would be happy to prepare in advance and address these for you at the event. We would also love to provide you with a personal demonstration of how our innovative technology and Pharma solutions can help you to optimize your trademark management in 2021.

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*This is an informational opinion article of Jukka Immonen of Corsearch. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent official policy or positions of TrademarkNow or its clients.

By Jukka Immonen
Jukka Immonen started in IP Services in 2003 with a Luxembourg-based Pharmaceutical search provider, which was eventually acquired by Corsearch in 2012. Jukka is Operations Manager in Luxembourg, servicing Pharmaceutical companies with his team — either directly or through law firms and branding agencies on their legal and regulatory clearance processes. His clients are globally based, and he has been the forerunner at Corsearch setting up new search types, initiating new services, and tools for clients in changing markets.