Prospects Remain Strong for Continued Growth in Design Patent Applications

The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) recently published its 2015 IP Spotlight, a report detailing U.S. intellectual property trends. The report highlights 2014’s top design patent and trademark recipients, litigation trends, and statistics from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).

This years’ list of the top 50 companies having been granted design patents was dominated by technology, automotive, and consumer product companies, with foreign corporations representing more than 40% of the top 50 with a total of 20 companies.

For over a decade, there has been a steady climb in number of filings and grants for design patents boosted by the development of the U.S. and global innovation economy.

In 2014, this trend continued, despite smaller rates of growth than in years past. According to the IPO data, in 2014 the top 50 design patent recipients received a combined total of 4,743 design patents, compared to 4,599 granted to the top 50 recipients in 2013.

Despite the recent slowdown, however, the prospects remain strong for continued growth in design patent applications in the coming years, especially as innovators look toward design patents to strengthen their IP portfolios.

Not surprisingly, new products and new innovations create increased demand for design protection, explaining why numerous leading companies fluctuate yearly between inclusion and exclusion from the rankings.

As companies continue to emphasize the importance of design protection globally, it would not be surprising to see an increase in the number of new companies that emerge onto the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s 2015 ranking of companies granted the most U.S. design patents.