The United Kingdom has been ranked as the top jurisdiction for trademark rights in law firm Taylor Wessing’s fourth Global IP Index (GIPI), which was released in London this week. The GIPI survey provides acomprehensive assessment of how the IP regimes of 36 key jurisdictions compare with each other, measuring their attractiveness for obtaining, exploiting, enforcing and attacking various IP rights.

The UK took top spot, having risen from third place in the previous edition of the GIPI to edge out Germany and Australia, with New Zealand and the Netherlands completing the top five. Respondents to the survey gave specific praise to the UK IP Office for speed, consistency, online services and helpfulness of staff towards SMEs. The survey results also emphasised the growing reputation of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, which was noted as “providing a reasonably low cost, quick and high quality forum, with lower risks on costs for losers”.  The UK’s cost-effectiveness of enforcement rating also increased compared to previous years, with the jurisdiction now ranked 8th overall in this regard.

On the other hand, the UK saw a significant a drop in its rating for the enforcement of unregistered rights. Moreover, many survey respondents indicated that bringing a successful passing off action in the UK is more difficult than pursuing an equivalent unfair competition claim in another EU jurisdiction. Clearly, there is still room for improvement.

While league tables such as this are always interesting to read one must question whether there is real substance to them. This edition may feature 14,000 assessments from various rights holders and users across the 36 jurisdictions but it is still a small percentage of the experiences of all trademark users worldwide. However, the results may suggest a trend in EU trademark harmonisation; as reported by the IPKat the results show 13 EU member states included in the top 22 places, as compared to earlier editions of GIPI which saw many EU jurisdictions further down the table.

Previous editions of GIPI have attracted widespread comment – as well as some debate – from IP creators and users, as well as public officials and legislators. Most recently the UK Business Secretary, Vince Cablequoted GIPI findings in support of the UK’s IP copyright regime. There will no doubt be a variety of responses to the findings in this most recent edition and WTR would be eager to know whether our readers agree with them.

The Trademark Index

Jurisdiction        Rank      Rating

UK                        1              738

Germany             2              735

Australia              3              727

New Zealand     4              725

Netherlands       5              723

Sweden               6              719

Canada               7              718

Ireland                 8              711

France                 9              710

Switzerland        10            707

This blog was first published in World Trademark Review on 14 November 2013