According to recently released figures from the UKIPO [PDF], although the total number of UK patents granted in the last year has remained relatively flat between 2018 and 2019 the percentage of patents granted to Scottish based applicants saw a modest increase in 2019, up to 6.7% from 4.8% the previous year. The data also shows that the percentage of applications filed by applicants from Scotland also saw a very slight increase.
Overall, the UKIPO saw a reduction in the number of patent application filings in 2019 with the total number of UK applications down by 8% from 12,843 to 12,002.
While the number of patent applications filed by Scottish based applicants also fell in 2019, the decrease amounted to only 22 fewer applications being filed in 2019 than in 2018, with 734 applications filed in the name of Scottish applicants in 2019 compared to 756 in 2018.
Scotland continues to be a hotbed of new technological development, and so it seems that despite the general downward trend in patent application filings at the UKIPO, the fact that figures in Scotland remain robust is clear evidence of the importance of innovation to Scottish companies.
Following a huge 304% increase in the number of registered design applications filed from 2015 to 2018, the total number of registered design filings at the UKIPO in 2019 represents the first decline since 2015.
The number of registered design applications decreased by 2.4% in 2019 (21,510 from 22,855 in 2018), albeit still very much above 2015 levels.
The figures for Scottish applicants present a very different picture, with the number of registered design applications originating from Scotland increasing 54.2% in 2019 (from 757 applications in 2018 to 1168 in 2019).
Scotland therefore represents the largest area of growth for registered design applications in the UK.
Contrary to the trend for patents and designs, the number of trade mark applications to the UKIPO have increased by 12.9% between 2018 and 2019.
With an increase of 16.7% from 2018, a record number of trade marks were registered in 2019.
Trade marks have also formed the majority of disputes dealt with by the UKIPO with a total of 4,117 oppositions filed in 2019.
The figures relating to Scotland show that the number of trade marks filed in the name of Scottish applicants increased by 7.1% between 2018 and 2019 (from 3,494 to 3,744).
With regards to the number of trade marks filed in Scotland that were registered in 2019, there has been a slightly lower increase of 5.4% (from 2,963 to 3,122).
These encouraging figures reflect the rapid development of the Scottish food & drink sector during the past year, with the rise of independent brewing, craft beer markets and new gin producers. The increase in the number of UK trade mark applications may also be attributed to Brexit, with brand owners filing UK trade mark applications in anticipation of the end of the transition period.
Arriving in 24th position in the Top 50 Applicants (trade mark registrations) of 2019 is BrewDog plc, Aberdeen brewer founded in 2007. BrewDog is constantly innovating and the volume of trade mark filings appear to reflect that.