There has been a 58% increase in new spirits trademarks registered between 2016 and 2018.
Some 2,482 spirits trademarks were registered last year, including both brand and individual product names, according to London-based law firm RPC.
This figure represents a 12% boost from the previous year, when the sector registered 2,210 trademarks in 2017.
The flavoured gin boom has inspired other spirit makers to bring out new flavour variations, with an uplift in flavoured rum, whisky and Tequila sub-brands this year.
RPC head of food and drink Ciara Cullen said its research showed large companies and independents were vying to appeal to customers’ curiosity for unique flavour profiles.
She said: “Consumer demand for new flavours and experiences has contributed to increased innovation and diversification of product lines – we are seeing all kinds of exciting new infusions.
“A lot of multinational distillers are now bringing out extra lines and limited runs of niche drinks, to compete with independents that have started to bite into their market share.”
The number of distillery businesses rose 21% in just a year to 205 in 2018, up from 170 in 2017.
Ben Mark, intellectual property partner at RPC said the competitive nature of the sector meant the potential for intellectual property disputes was ripe.
His words of caution come after several cases in the spirits industry, including martial arts fighter Conor McGregor’s withdrawal of a trademark application for his whiskey brand after a conflict with an Irish brewer.
Mark explained: “The importance of establishing a distinctive brand identity in today’s highly competitive spirits market cannot be overstated.
“Failure to adequately protect that intellectual property can result in brand value becoming diluted by rivals launching copycat products. Should that end in litigation, having trademarks in place is crucial.”