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Miguel de Cervantes used to say “Where one door shuts, another opens”, and this statement seems to be in line with the provisional balance of the data offered by the SPTO after this atypical 2020: although the pandemic was believed to have stopped this type of progress, the number of utility model, trademark, trade name and patent applications has been on the rise. when it is possible to think that the pandemic could stop this type of progress.

In the words of José Antonio Gil Celedonio, Director of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, “the data are promising for the future. The R&D+i system, both in the public and private sectors, has made greater use of the patent system, which represents a commitment to national scientific and technological development.

And what better way to show that than to look at a comparison between 2019 and 2020 before developing this idea further:


*Provisional data obtained from the SPTO’s 2020 statistics and total applications.

The high concentration of applications in the Autonomous Communities of Andalusia, Catalonia, Valencia and Madrid is striking, with more than half of the total number of applications in any type of intellectual property; Castilla y León also stands out with a total of 461 utility model applications:


*Provisional data obtained from the SPTO’s 2020 statistics and total applications.

In detail, when compared with the rest of the Autonomous Communities, the next highest number of patent applications is below 100; for utility models, 150; for trademarks, 2,500, and for trade names, 800.

Now, what could be the cause of all this increase?

Increase in patents and utility models. Patricia Ramos, our Patent Manager, explains:

Such a high rise in patent applications, as Patricia points out, “it is especially significant if we take into account that there is no memory of rising figures for more than a decade, specifically since 2008, when there were more than 3,000 per year.

Regarding utility models, she mentions:

Bear in mind that utility models, known as the little brother of the patent, also protect inventions. When we think about the Covid-19, we do not only think about vaccines or treatments, but also about protective screens, masks, disinfection and protection systems… We believe there has been a boom in this type of inventions by SMEs, which is faithfully reflected in the SPTO’s statistics and which we confirm with the activity at our office.

And on the ownership of patents and inventions, she says that:

Public centers and Universities -the source of approximately 70% of all patent applications and where nine of the top 10 applicants are public centers- non-COVID R&D+i projects, while they could not go to their laboratories or workplaces, have had more time to stop and draft or analyze the developments they had made in recent times.

However, despite this good news, our director reminds us that “we must not forget that the nearly 2,000 patent applications is far from the figures of the most innovative countries in the world, or simply in Europe.

Increase in trademarks and trade names. Carmen González, our Trademark Manager makes it easier to understand:

Regarding the numbers for this 2020 in terms of trademarks and trade names, the rise in both trademarks, with 51,103 applications, an 0.8% rise, and especially in trade names, from 11,616 applications in 2019 to 12,265 in 2020, an 5.59% rise is noteworthy. In this regard, our Trademark Manager says:

Usually, trademark registrations had always been a reliable way of checking the economic situation, but this year seems to be disruptive in this matter as well. In my opinion, the growth in trademark applications filed at the SPTO is great news in a year as economically challenging as 2020. After hearing for months about the difficulties that many companies are going through, I believe that these figures show that trademarks are useful to make them visible and companies perceive them as a valuable asset.

In times of crisis, entrepreneurs and business people are showing a greater awareness of the importance of protecting their intangible assets, such as trademarks, and this is also new. The creation of new services and business models linked to the effects of the pandemic, as well as the dramatic boom of the most innovative e-commerce businesses, whose DNA includes the protection of their trademarks and services, and who understand that trademarks help to identify us with consumers and differentiate us from our competitors in an environment of global competition, have also undoubtedly had an impact.

We therefore conclude that this 2020 continues the trend of focusing on innovation, research and entrepreneurship. Let us hope that this trend continues so that we can be one of the great innovators of the planet and that our country continues to preserve its capacity to grow and improve in the face of adversity.


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