The number of trademark applications for hash tags increased worldwide by 64 per cent last year, according to new research by CompuMark. Since the first application to trademark a hash tag was filed in 2010, there have been over 5,000 such applications, including 2,200 in 2016 alone.
Most of the trademarks filed last year fall into three classes:
• 594 into Class 41 (education and entertainment services, shows, sporting events, training);
• 587 in Class 35 (advertising and administration, business consultancy, marketing, online retail, recruitment);
• and 512 in Class 25 (clothing, footwear and headwear).
The US was the global leader in hash tag trademarks with 608 applications in 2016, followed by Brazil with 226 and India with 141.
However, the US’ international share of applications declined from 35 per cent in 2015 to 28 per cent in 2016.
Rob Davey, a director at Compu Mark

He said the global rise indicated “that brands are seeing the value in going through the proper trade marking process in all spheres, including social media, to make sure they are protecting themselves from possible infringement and mitigating the associated risks”.