The Australian economy is robust and remained resilient during the pandemic, however the first quarter of 2023 highlighted the challenges ahead with the rising cost of living and tighter monetary policy implemented by the Reserve Bank of Australia. Following two years of consecutive growth above 8%, Australian trade mark filings fell by 11.2% from their record level in 2021.
IP Australia released its Australian Intellectual Property Report 2023 (the Report) on 26 April 2023. The Report summarises the trends across key IP sectors. Patent applications reached their highest level on record in 2021 and hovered around this record in 2022. Trade mark applications fell by 11.2%, design applications fell by 3.6%, and plant breeder’s rights rose 1.3% from their 2021 level. These figures indicate that innovation investments and trade mark filings remained a priority during the pandemic. The decline in trade mark filings in 2022 demonstrates a reluctance to invest in new products during times of economic uncertainty.
FY22 in summary:
Trade mark filing activity is considered procyclical as it has a tendency to fluctuate during the economic cycle. That is, an increase in trade mark filing activity can be expected during periods of economic growth and rising GDP, whereas negative economic outlook typically results in a drop in new trade mark filings.The growth of trade mark filings in Australia and internationally is a countercyclical response. In 2020, new products and services were introduced as residents embarked on new business ventures despite economic uncertainty and this led to the growth in trade mark filings seen over the last few years. In 2022, the rising cost of living, high interest rates and decline in capital value have had an impact on consumer sentiment, which has fallen to levels not observed since the onset of the pandemic.
The data shows that Australian applicants are the top filers for Australian applications, followed by the United States (13.5%), China (7%), United Kingdom (3.5%), Germany (2.3%) and Japan (1.7%). The leading filer in Australia is a retail beverage and hotels business created by the Woolworths Group.Across Australia, all states and territories experienced a decline in trade mark filings from the previous year. New South Wales was the top filer in 2022 and fell -12.2%, Victoria (-19%) and Queensland (-8.4%). South Australia (-11.7%), ACT (-12.2%), Tasmania (-15.8%) and Northern Territory (-7.4%) also all experienced a decline. Western Australia was the region that saw the largest decline at -19.9%.