UK financial services trade marks hit record high as fintech investment grows
This rise in trade mark activity has been partly propelled by new financial products being launched in the fintech sector.
The number of trade marks registered by financial services firms has risen to a record high, jumping 35% in five years from 3,141 in 2011 to 4,228 in 2016*, says professional services firm, RPC (see graph below).
RPC says that the UK’s innovative financial services sector has historically been an active area for trademarks. However, investment in fintech, both from established institutions and start-ups, has led to a sharp rise in new services protected by trade marks in the sector over the last five years.
The use of trade marks in financial services is popular due to the relative ease at which financial products can become commoditised by the launch of ‘me too’ products by competitors.
RPC says both established institutions and start-ups competing in the fintech space are hoping to differentiate themselves by creating trade marks for individual products or suites of products. For example, fintech companies and challenger banks such as Atom Bank, Monzo, and Redwood Bank have registered a number of trade marks recently.
Examples of financial services and fintech trade marks registered in 2016 include:
- Digital Gateway and digital banking platform, Zentity, protected its name, ‘Zentity: A touch of innovation’, in February 2016
- Numus Cash is a digitally automated cash payments service for retailers – it protected its name, ‘Numus: cash as a service’ in August 2016
Peer-to-peer lender Bondora trademarked its name “Bondora just takes a minute to beat your bank” in September 2016
BABB, or Bank Account Based Blockchain, trademarked its name ‘BABB: Everyone is a bank’ in October 2016
Paul Joseph, Partner at RPC, says: “Financial services businesses collectively are pouring hundreds of millions into promoting new products and services. That investment needs to be protected through registering trade marks.”
“Without registering trade marks it becomes a lot easier to rivals to launch similar products confusing customers,” comments Ben Mark, Trade Marks Legal Director.
Record high number of new trademarks registered by financial services firms in 2017
*Intellectual Property Office data