GENEVA, Feb 11 (AFP): International trademark applications rose by 13.9 percent to a record 33,565 last year, with a major increase from China and the United States, the World Intellectual Property Organisation said Thursday.
The "Madrid" system allows a single application at WIPO to be registered in any of the 77 countries involved.
Chinese applications in 2005 rose 31 percent to 1,334 applications, said WIPO.
"This is a sign that Chinese industry is increasingly exporting goods with an identity," WIPO assistant director general Ernesto Rubio said.
"This is an indication of the value of those exports -- they are more valuable than just exporting commodities."
In addition, China overtook Switzerland as the top market where foreign companies sought protection for their brandnames -- there was a 47 percent increase in that category, with 13,576 applications.
"That reflects the interest foreign companies have in protecting their brand in this rapidly growing market," Rubio told journalists.
The numbers were also boosted by the United States, in its second full year of participation in the trademark scheme. US applications rose 64 percent to 2,847.
Germany remained the top user of the system for the 13th consecutive year, with its 5,802 applications -- an increase of 7.5 percent -- representing 17 percent of the total.
It was followed by France, the United States and the three Benelux countries, which are logged as a group.