The total number of domestic trade mark registrations in the UK increased by five per cent to 49,193 last year compared to 2003. Within that figure, trademark registration in the UK for food anddrinks rose by 3.5 per cent to 4,227.
Generally the volume of trade mark registrations acts as a rough barometer of business confidence in the economy and indicates manufacturers' intentions in launching new products. Companiesregister their product or brand names as trade marks to protect them as they are valuable assets that can be sold.
Unilever remains as the number two register of trade marks in the country, while a wine retailer entered at the bottom of the top 10 registrants for the first time in 2004, according to statisticspublished yesterday by the UK patent office.
Under the Madrid protocol another 1,697 trademarks were registered in the UK by foreign food and beverage companies, a rise of 5.1 per cent. The protocol allows the holder of a registration inanother member country to apply through the World Intellectual Property Organisation to "designate" the UK for protection of a trade mark.
In the coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice and other commodities segment, the UK patent office registered 1,444 trade marks during 2004, a rise of 4.7 per cent compared to the previous year.
In the category another 443 registrations were approved under the Madrid agreement, compared to 431 in 2003.
In meats, meat extracts, fish, poultry and game segment, trade mark registrations rose by 3.7 per cent to 1,111. Registrations for beer, ale, porter, mineral and aerated waters rose by 7.2 per centto 814.
Another 548 registrations were made under the Madrid agreement compared to 510 in 2003.
Registrations for wines, spirits and liqueurs fell by two per cent to 858. Another 393 were made under the Madrid agreement compared to 352 in 2003.
In the patent office's top ten list Unilever remained as the number two register of trade marks in the country. However the number of trade marks registered by the food, drinks, home care andpersonal products company dropped to 93 in 2004 from 104 the year before.
Unilever's food division accounts for 49 per cent of the Anglo-Dutch group's sales, drinks eight per cent and home and personal care for the rest. As the largest consumers products group in theworld the company had a turnover of €39.1bn in 2004.
A query to the company's press office requesting a breakdown of the figures was not returned by publishing time.
A wine retailer entered at the bottom of the top 10 in 2004 for the first time. Western Wines gained 42 registered trade marks in 2004.
Western Wines, which was bought by Canada-based Vincor in July 2004. The registrations reflect the wines being imported into the UK.