The recent release of the Intellectual Property Owners’ Association (IPO) 2014 IP Record shows interesting results: Trademark applications hit an all-time high in 2013!

In the National Law Review article by Monica Riva Talley, Ms. Talley explains some of the highlights. This year’s IP Record shows that in 2013, 433,654 trademark applications were filed, which is a 4% increase from the previous year, but fewer applications were approved, meaning fewer trademarks were actually registered.

The good news is that the increase in trademark applications could indicate economic growth as more businesses develop and protect their IP. According to Ms. Talley, savvy brands in today’s market understand how important it is to protect the factors that impact how customers connect emotionally with a brand – which happen to be the same factors that make their brand unique.

So what’s with the fact that trademark applications are going up, while actual trademark registrations of those applications have gone down in comparison?

One answer might be that the trademark applicants who were denied registration by the USPTO didn’t understand the necessity for a strong trademark registration strategy.

Owners of thriving start-ups and growing businesses know that they can monetize on their intellectual property in a huge way, including, something Ms. Talley also notes, increasing shares of revenue streams from things like merchandising, licensing and co-branding programs.

I’d say the takeaway from this year’s IP report is that before you spend your money applying for a trademark that may get denied, make sure you have a solid registration strategy, including anticipating potential USPTO challenges to your application and how to overcome them.