COVID-19 Impact on Trademarks


In the first of two posts, Utku Süngü and Mutlu yıldırım Köse consider the impact of COVID-19 on filing trends in Turkey. A second post, to be published soon, will examine some case studies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on trade mark law as on other areas of law. When considered in detail, it can be seen that trade mark law is affected in various aspects by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the clearest examples of this impact is that the number of trade mark applications related to the COVID-19 period has risen, although the number of trade mark applications in total has decreased. World-famous brands have changed their trade marks during this pandemic period, aiming to show their customers their awareness and sensitivity.

Impact on trade mark applications

During the COVID-19 period, the number of trade mark applications has declined in Turkey. The reason for this decline was the economically unstable situation for the biggest applicants for trade mark during the period rather than any technical considerations. After all, trade mark applications can be made online.

The number of trade mark applications increased respectively by 32.5% and 26.4% in January and February 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. However, according to the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office, the number of applications in March 2020 (when the first COVID-19 case was detected in Turkey) decreased by 3.6% compared to March 2019. The most dramatic decrease in the number of trade mark applications occurred in April when COVID-19 had more impact in Turkey. There was a decrease of 25.8% in April 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.

With the introduction of the ‘new normal’ notion and the lower impact of COVID-19 compared to April, in May the decrease in the trade mark applications was reduced. With the termination of many restrictions, it is expected that this reduction in the decrease rates will go on and that there may even be an increase in the number of applications in June compared to the same month last year.

Trade mark filings in Turkey

Month

Number of trade mark applications

2019

2020

Change

January

8235

10915

+32.5%

February

9261

11704

+26.4%

March

10650

10266

-3.6%

April

9685

7182

-25.8%

May

9500

8862

-6.7%

When the latest statistics of EUIPO are observed, it can be seen that the period has been relatively stable in Europe, with neither a significant increase nor a decrease in trade mark applications during this period. As in Turkey, the highest rate of decrease occurred in March and April and there has been an increase beginning to be apparent in May.

Trade mark filings at EUIPO

Month

Number of trade mark applications

2019

2020

January

13466

13048

February

12981

13332

March

14255

13189

April

14004

13002

May

14184

13732

 
Overall, we can state that the figures in Turkey have recovered after the dramatic decrease in April but that in general during the whole period the trend before the EUIPO was more stable than in Turkey.

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