Wednesday, 25 February 2009
RSA: GDP and IP filings
Today numerous reports have shown a contraction in the last quarter of 2008 GDP in South Africa (see for example here) following statistics released yesterday. The SA economy shrank by 1.8% and manufacturing contracted by a whopping 21.8%. IP filings across all disciplines show a marked decline too during the same period, according to figures from the SA Registry. The six month moving average showed a decrease of roughly 10% across trade mark, design and patent applications for the same quarter. The direct correlation between IP filing trends and GDP growth/contraction is not unsurprising. However, there are arguments that tight economic conditions can lead to an increase in IP filings where, for example, companies focus on innovation and licensing to try an create new revenue streams or use their IP to raise finance. In RSA, a weak currency in times of economic hardship can lead to increased IP filings from RSA exporters both nationally and internationally but can make profit difficult for foreign exporters selling products or services locally, leading to a decrease in IP filings.