Earlier this year, as part of its Balance of Competences Review, the UK's Intellectual Property Office published a document, Review of the Internal Market:
Free Movement of Goods;
including the EU Customs
Union and Intellectual
Property Rights: Call for Evidence. On page 16 of this document there appears a table, reproduced below, that caught the eye of one of the IPKat's readers:
The table would appear to indicate, among other things, that the UK's national patent system was pretty popular with UK applicants; this was nothing, however, to the affection for the jurisdiction's trade mark system among local applicants. And while UK registered design filings are not a vast number, local applicants are practically the only applicants.
What does this table reflect? Does it show a hopelessly introverted, domestically fixated approach to IP protection on the part of UK businesses? Or is it that the national application is the first resort of that fabled creature which all governments purport to worship and which doesn't have a voice of its own -- the small and/or medium enterprise, or SME?
The IPKat wonders whether comparable figures in other European Union Member States show similar trends: if it does, then perhaps the Brits aren't so uniquely insular after all. Says Merpel: Community trade mark and Community registered designs haven't shaken Brits free from the habit of local filing. Is that, then, why the European Commission has been so anxious to install a Community-wide patent system to replace national patents rather than to compete with them, so that another little sphere of national influence in supra-national Europe can be removed?