Annual Report

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir, Director General

Director General’s Address

30 years of the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office

In 2021, the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office celebrated an important milestone. In July 1991, the Institution began operations as the Icelandic Patent Office. The history of the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office is a story of innovation and change in industry in Iceland for the past 30 years. During this time, the growing emphasis on innovation and the development of industry has meant that intellectual property and intellectual property rights have become more important than ever. That is not only thanks to Iceland being a party to a number of important international treaties, but also the government’s increased emphasis on innovation and the development of industry. Today, a strong intellectual property industry is the foundation of prosperity and value creation in Iceland.

As we look back on the shared history of the old Icelandic Patent Office and theIcelandic Intellectual Property Office, we can see that Icelandic industry, society and business have changed dramatically. Innovation is now central to how we live, work and create goods and jobs. The role of intellectual property in this process is clear: Intellectual property plays a pivotal role in turning an idea into reality. They create value which is vital to protect. Therefore, intellectual property is now effectively the currency of successful innovation. 
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Activities and Mission

A New Organisation Chart

A revised strategy for the ISIPO came into effect on May 1, 2021 and is valid through 2022. Along with the revised strategy, a new organisational chart came into effect, aimed to better define the roles of individual departments.

The revised strategy emphasises further improvement of our services, making them more efficient and user oriented. The development of digital solutions and information delivery therefore plays a key role in our main targets and projects going forward.

Emphasis will continue to be placed on increasing public awareness of intellectual property rights and strengthening the image of the Office. There is increased emphasis on the flow of information and knowledge-sharing through the introduction of diverse teamwork. Furthermore, we strive to create a good workplace while promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly operations.

Changes to the structure and organisational chart support, in a transparent manner, the objectives of the revised strategy and are intended to strengthen the Office's activities both internally and externally. 


Intellectual property rights are essential to foster creativity and encourage innovation. Formal and substantive processing of applications for the registration of trademarks, patents and designs takes place in the new Department of Production. The department decides whether registrations will be accepted or rejected, and its legal examiners prepare reasoning for rejecting applications. The department resolves opposition and revocation cases and handles requests for re-establishment of rights.


The Operations Department takes care of all the tasks related to human resources, finances and operations, IT and document management. Quality management is now also part of the Operations Department. In addition, staff of the department undertakes various tasks within the Office, such as the management of international cooperation projects and agreements with international organisations.

Customer Service

A new core Customer Service Department began operations on 1 May 2021. Its role is to support the implementation of the revised strategy of the ISIPO. The tasks of the new Service Department include handling the formal processing of applications and inquiries, publishing the ISIPO Gazette, managing the ISIPO website and providing other external services.

The department also accepts applications for the maintenance of rights, i.e., payment of annual patent fees and the renewal of design and trademark filing, and deals with requests for changes of parties, pledge of registrations and more.

Director General’s Office

In addition to the Director General, the Director General’s Office is staffed by a senior lawyer, a communications manager and a digital leader. Among other things, the office handles joint projects of the Intellectual Property Office, oversees legal issues, internal and external communications, digital development and policy implementation. The office also works independently on specific projects or issues in collaboration with the Director General and department Heads.

Legal affairs

Changes in legislation in 2021

Patents Act no. 17/1991 was changed in 2021 when Act no. 57/2021 was passed, implementing a so-called SPC waiver. According to Article 65 a. of the Act, it is now permissible to grant an exemption to third parties from the protection that substances/medicines enjoy by issuing a supplementary certificate (SPC) for the production and/or for implementation of the necessary operations for the production of substances/medicines intended for export outside the European Economic Area. The exemption may also concern the production for storage of such materials/medicines for marketing in Iceland after the additional protection expires. 

The change is based on EU regulation no. 933/2019, which amended the EU regulation on supplementary protection certificates for medicinal products no. 469/2009 and is awaiting implementation in the EEA Agreement. A regulation for a more detailed explanation of what actions manufacturers need to take in order to take advantage of the exemption and the administration of the ISIPO is expected in 2022.

The notice for the classification of goods and services is updated annually in accordance with amendments to titles of classes according to the NICE Agreement. The notice from January 1, 2021, involved slight changes to the titles of classes 35 and 36.

Other legal changes that may affect the procedures of the ISIPO were, among others, enactment of a new law on Icelandic capital domains, Act no. 54/2021. In Article 12 of the Act, it is specifically stated that the owner of a domain name is responsible for ensuring that use of the domain name does not infringe the rights of others, including intellectual property rights. The ISIPO submitted an opinion on the bill while it was under review.

There were no extensive changes in international regulations during the year that affect the activities of the ISIPO. Changes to the Madrid Protocol, PCT and Hague Rules that were approved by the WIPO General Assembly in autumn 2021 are available on the WIPO website, but they mainly concern the designation and registration of agents in the Madrid process, sequence listings and translations in the PCT Procedure, as well as deadlines, publication and priority rights requirements in the international design process. Most changes come into effect in 2022, others later.

The free trade agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit took effect in 2021. EFTA and the United Kingdom worked together on a similar agreement which is expected to take effect in 2022.

Brexit had the effect that international applications of Icelandic entities that nominated the European Union did not automatically remain valid in the United Kingdom. Users who had designated the European Union in international applications were informed of this status. Brexit has the effect that agents operating in the UK do not fall under the provisions of Article 35 Of Act on Trademarks or similar provisions of the Patent and Design Act. It is therefore not expected that British agents can act on behalf of applicants in Iceland unless they were nominated before the UK's exit from the European Union.

Domestic co-operation

The ISIPO stresses the importance of good cooperation with domestic stakeholders in order to increase knowledge about intellectual property rights, improve the service offered to clients, and promote more and better use of intellectual property rights in Iceland. The Office has established various forms of cooperation with parties in industry, education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship in Iceland. These include the University of Iceland, Reykjavik University, the Federation of Icelandic Industries, Business Iceland, Innovation Center Iceland and Klak (formerly Icelandic Startups).

The ISIPO is also involved in a dialogue with intellectual property representatives in Iceland. The Office has regular meetings with the Icelandic Association of Patent and Trademark Representatives and the Association of Patent Experts to share information and ensure that it can provide its clients with the best possible service.

International co-operation

The ISIPO engages in extensive international cooperation to ensure active sharing of information, experience, and knowledge between patent and intellectual property offices in Europe. Such cooperation is becoming ever more important in times of globalisation as commerce, industry and research and development activities are increasingly conducted on an international level.

To a considerable extent, these efforts take place with the European Patent Office (EPO). The ISIPO takes an active part in the management of EPO as the representative of one of its 38 member states. The Director General of the ISIPO was re-elected Vice Chairperson of the EPO’s Executive Committee for a term of three years in December of 2021. Furthermore, the ISIPO is involved in a variety of technical and legal projects, all of which aim to make information on patents and applications more accessible to users worldwide and coordinate the member states' interpretation of related legislation.

The Office’s employees also take part in meetings and courses organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), of which Iceland is a member. The ISIPO is also a participant in extensive cooperation efforts involving the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the Nordic Patent Institute (NPI) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and takes part in cooperation between the patent and intellectual property Offices of the Nordic and Baltic 

The ISIPO’s Strategy

On May 1st, 2021, a new and revised ISIPO strategy took effect, and will remain in effect until the end of the year 2022. The strategy mentions five points that specify the Office's priorities.

Improve the ISIPO’s image and increase awareness about intellectual property rights
Necessary knowledge of intellectual property rights is a prerequisite of companies being able to protect and utilise their intellectual property. Therefore, we emphasise strengthening the image of the ISIPO and increasing awareness about intellectual property rights in Iceland. The ISIPO is thus active in the conversation about intellectual property rights in society and collaborates with the Office’s stakeholders on a variety of projects, such as events and workshops.

In 2021, the ISIPO was one of the partners of Iceland Innovation Week and participated in a seminar with the New Business Venture Fund on the importance of intellectual property rights for investment in innovation. Furthermore, the ISIPO opened a “pop-up” office in Gróska business growth centre, where entrepreneurs were invited to seek advice.

The ISIPO also held workshops in various innovation accelerators and hackathons in 2021. These included Startup SuperNova, Hringiða, Ullarþon and Auðna - Technology Transfer Office’s Masterclass on innovation in bio and health technology. In past years, the ISIPO has also partnered with Gulleggið and provided participants with vital education and knowledge about intellectual property rights.
Build an efficient and user-centric service
The ISIPO places great emphasis on continuing to build an efficient user-centric service. Therefore, the development of digital solutions plays a key role in the ISIPO’s policies and main projects.

An important facet of this work is improving communication and information delivery to our clients, as well as developing a new website and digital application processes.
Improving staff’s knowledge and communicating it both internally and to the public
The revised ISIPO strategy emphasises passing on employees’ knowledge, both internally as well as to the general public. To that end, a new team - Þekkingarbrunnur - was established. The team’s role is to lead the training and continuing education of the ISIPO staff, both within the ISIPO’s field of operations, as well as on related matters and on the legislation that the Office must abide by.

Þekkingarbrunnur’s training comes in the form of lectures and shorter courses managed by the Office’s employees. In addition, guest lecturers are occasionally invited to speak. Furthermore, the foundations have been laid for more specialised workshops, which will initially deal with the reception and treatment of patent applications and investigations into the registrability of trademarks.
Create a dynamic workplace that brings out the best in people
The new ISIPO organisational chart is intended to support the Office’s revised policy and improve the workplace culture. Increasing cooperation between departments, with an emphasis on teamwork, is a part of those changes.

The ISIPO has implemented an equal rights plan and equal pay policy, which is intended to ensure equal opportunities and status for ISIPO employees, regardless of gender. The policy is based on the ISIPO’s HR policy and the values of Professionalism, Knowledge and Trust.

The Icelandic government has granted a permit for improved facilities for the ISIPO, which will improve the workplace even further.
Strive for a prosperous and eco-friendly operation
We place an emphasis on running a thriving ISIPO in an eco-friendly manner. In 2021, the ISIPO concluded three steps in the Green Step Program organised by the Environment Agency’s for state institutions that wish to reduce the negative environmental impact of their operation and increase their employees’ environmental awareness.

According to the Act on Climate Matters, government institutions must establish a climate policy and have Green Accounting. With Green Accounting, the ISIPO can, among other things, monitor the emission of greenhouse gases resulting from its activities.

In 2021, the ISIPO’s operations led to the release of the equivalent of 3.36 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 38% less than the previous year. An explanation for this large reduction is the fact that international meetings and courses were held in the form of teleconferences due to the pandemic.

In 2021 it was decided to offset the entire carbon emissions resulting from the operation of the ISIPO. 40 trees were therefore planted in the name of ISIPO due to emissions in 2021.

Digital development

The ISIPO annually receives over 20,000 submissions of various kinds. Of these, more than 5,000 are new applications, while most of the other submissions concern some of the more than 70,000 intellectual property rights registered with the Office. For the last few years, most of these submissions have been received digitally. The ISIPO was therefore technically well equipped to deal with the challenges the world faced in early 2020 when the pandemic hit with full force and all services were moved online almost overnight.

During the review of the organisation's strategy at the beginning of 2021, it was decided to prioritise further digital development, and the goal is now for the organisation to be able to provide all services digitally. Several important steps have been taken in the last few years to make this possible. Among other things, the organisation's databases have been modernised and powerful web services built on top of them to answer inquiries and receive information. In the first half of 2021, the project Digital ISIPO was launched. The project is two-fold and relates to external and internal services.
External service
Work on the ISIPO’s new website was in its final stages at the end of 2021. The website offers an access point to all the Office's services. It is simple and accessible and points customers quickly in the right direction. It is also flexible enough to accommodate various additions, such as new technical solutions including chatbots and automatic display of statistical data.

The new website includes a powerful search engine where it is possible to view applications and rights registered at the Office. It also allows the submission of all types of applications and papers digitally, and for the payment of application and service fees. “My pages” are also being developed for users to access various documents including application documents, registration certificates and rejection and justification letters.
Internal development
In parallel with the work on the new website, considerable work on further digital development has been undertaken. Steps have already been taken towards increased automation, particularly in relation to the input of information from the EPO and WIPO regarding European patents and international trademark applications. There is further analytical work ahead, the aim of which is to further map the possibilities of technology to replace the human hand. Improved customer service, including increased self-service options and experience, is always at the fore.

30 years of the ISIPO

A brief history

In 2021, the ISIPO celebrated its 30th anniversary. On July 1, 1991, the Office, then named the Icelandic Patent Office, began operations. Throughout the years, the Office has undergone tremendous changes in conjunction with the increased importance of intellectual property rights in industry, business and innovation. In the Icelandic Patent Office’s first year, about 1,000 trademarks were registered in Iceland, compared with 4,000 in 2021. Today, over 61,000 trademarks and 9,200 patents are active in Iceland.
It was appropriate that on July 11, 1991, an article appeared in Morgunblaðið newspaper about the establishment of the Icelandic Patent Office under the headline: “Service to industry strengthened with a patent office”. Our goal and role have always been to service Icelandic industry and innovation, guided by the needs of our clients.

Three people have served as Director General of the ISIPO throughout the years. Gunnar Guttormsson headed the Icelandic Patent Office when it began operations in 1991. He served until 2001, when Ásta Valdimarsdóttir was appointed Director General. The incumbent Director General of the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office, Borghildur Erlingsdóttir has held the position since 2010.

ISIPO’s anniversary conference: IP and sustainability: Innovation for a brighter future

The protection and exploitation of intellectual property is a necessary part of innovation in green technology and can thus be an important part of Iceland's contribution to tackling today's environmental challenges. This was evident at the ISIPO’s thirty-year anniversary conference, IP and sustainability: Innovation for a brighter future, which was held in Harpa in Reykjavik on Thursday, November 4, 2021.
The author and futurist Bergur Ebbi, was moderator, while Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir delivered the conference's opening speech, where she spoke, among other things, about the development of industry in Iceland over the last three decades. In Iceland, a new type of industry is being built that places greater emphasis on innovation and intellectual property. Ms. Jakobsdóttir said that during the thirty years of the ISIPO, the Office had helped Icelandic parties to protect and maximise their innovation, thus playing a part in building a strong innovation environment, which is one of the foundations of prosperity in Iceland.
In her address, the Prime Minister also mentioned that innovation in the field of green technology based on intellectual property rights could be Iceland's most important contribution in the fight against climate change. Despite Iceland's small size and the scale of the challenge, Icelandic technological solutions, e.g., those which were presented at the conference, gave reason for optimism.
In her speech, Borghildur Erlingsdóttir, Director General of the ISIPO, mentioned that in its 30-year history, the Office has developed in line with dramatic changes in Icelandic business life, industry, and society. The world now faces a new global challenge in the form of climate change. However, new Icelandic technological solutions are on the horizon that give hope of it being possible to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere while creating conditions for more sustainable food production and a more efficient way of organising our society. The protection of intellectual property rights is a key factor in implementing such solutions, as they are the basis of investments and cooperation in innovation.
The conference also featured greetings from the heads of three international organisations in the field of intellectual property: WIPO Director General Daren Tang addressed the conference from Geneva, Switzerland, EPO President António Campinos from Munich, Germany and EUIPO Executive Director Christian from Alicante, Spain. 

Intellectual property and natural resources

Many of Iceland's foremost innovation companies in the field of green technology participated in the conference. Bergur Sigfússon, Head of CO2 capture and injection at Carbfix, reviewed the company's recent success. In September it opened Orca, the world's largest direct air capture and CO2 disposal plant, in collaboration with Swiss company Climeworks. Carbfix has built a strong foundation in intellectual property and has plans to expand its IP protection and management.
Egill Tómasson, Innovation Manager at Landsvirkjun, discussed how the national power company of Iceland has put an increased emphasis on innovation and how intellectual property plays a key role in their plans to focus more on a complex and interconnected approach to creating new energy solutions.
In his presentation, Ómar Sigurbjörnsson discussed how the protection and management of the Carbon Recycling International’s intellectual property has allowed the company to take part in valuable innovation collaborations in the field of CO2 recycling. The export of Icelandic IP could be Iceland’s most valuable contribution to the fight against climate change.

Innovating for a brighter future

Birta Kristín Helgadóttir, Project Manager at Green by Iceland, discussed in her speech how Icelandic ingenuity and technology can make a difference in sustainability goals in the wake of the COP26 conference in Glasgow. Intellectual property plays an important role in the process by encouraging investment and collaboration in innovation.
Sigríður Mogensen, Head of Division at the Federation for Icelandic Industries, went over the evolution of Icelandic industry in recent decades. She discussed how Icelandic industry went from being primarily natural resource based to being primarily IP based. This development has not only protected the Icelandic economy from external shocks and contributed to increased value creation but can also be a foundation for innovation in the field of green technology that could be of value to the rest of the world.

Health, food production, and intellectual property

Controlant’s innovation has gathered substantial interest in recent years as their technology has been instrumental in delivering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine around the world. Guðmundur Reynaldsson, IP Manager of Controlant, said in his presentation that the use of the patent system is an important part of the company’s plans as it will be key to securing investment for further research and development.
Dr. Björn Örvar, founder and CSO of ORF Genetics, presented his company’s latest product, MESOkine, a protein growth factor for the cell-cultured meat industry. It is developed from genetically modified barley grown using geothermal energy in Iceland and promises to greatly reduce the cost of cell-cultured meat in the future. ORF uses an integrated approach to intellectual property that focuses on patents, trademarks, and trade secrets.
In his presentation, Ari Ingimundarson, Head of Engineering and Operations at VAXA, presented the company’s ambitious plans in food production and the role IP will play in VAXA’s future. Their ground-breaking technology allows VAXA to decouple growth from finite natural resources by using algae to convert clean energy into sustainable food. The company has filed for more than 20 patents and the protection of intellectual property is crucial to the company’s investments and sustainable innovation.

Panel discussion

Finally, Ásta Valdimarsdóttir, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and former Director of the Icelandic Patent Office, led a panel discussion (in Icelandic) with Sigríður Mogensen, Head of Division at the Federation for Icelandic Industries, Ari Ingimundarson, Head of Engineering and Operations at VAXA, Einar Mäntylä, Director of Auðna Technology Transfer Office Iceland, and Huld Magnúsdóttir, Director of the Business Innovation Fund.
Among the conclusions was that intellectual property and intellectual property protection are often the key to financing scientific projects and that increased protection of intellectual property could help in the financing of such projects even though the technical solution was still being developed. 

There was also a discussion on competitive advantages in green energy and how the energy industry has not used intellectual property rights and especially patents to a sufficient extent in recent years. According to Einari Mäntylä, Icelanders working in this field have not handled their knowledge well in recent years and have only sold it in the form of hours of work for consultants and not through intellectual property-protected technical solutions. When looking at the challenges the world faces as reflected on at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Iceland's contribution can be through ingenuity. By paying proper attention to intellectual property issues, Icelandic technological solutions could have an international impact.

According to panel participants, it is also important to mobilise both the private and public sectors. Ari Ingimundarson said that intellectual property issues need to be clear in order to mobilise private capital. At the same time, consideration must be given to the right incentives in public funding of research and development by conditioning it on innovation that is protected and with production and companies behind it.

Finally, it was discussed how the government's involvement in financing innovation in Iceland should be handled. Sigríður Mogensen mentioned that such funding and incentives for innovation are an investment for the future. Therefore, such funding, whether through the Technology Development Fund or reimbursements for research and development costs, should go to projects that are scalable and protected by intellectual property, and tapping into foreign markets should be considered to increase the national economy's export income. In the end, innovation is about what value creation will be created, and this will drive future economic growth and improved living standards for the future.
All speeches and presentations are available on our streaming platform.
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Intellectual property registrations valid in Iceland at the end of 2021


Registered intellectual property at the end of 2021


7,500 owned by
Icelandic parties


87 owned by
Icelandic parties


122 owned by
Icelandic parties

in 2021


↑ 7%


↑ 7%


↑ 53%

Rights granted
in 2021


↓ 34%


↓ 2%


↑ 18%

The number of trademark applications inIceland increased by almost 7% in 2021. However, the number of patent applications by Icelandic parties decreased by 23%.

 The total number of trademark applications received by the ISIPO was 7% higher in 2021 than in 2020.
 688 national trademark applications from Icelandic parties were received by the ISIPO in 2021. This is an increase of 2% from the previous year.
The total number of trademark disclosure decisions* decreased by 33% year-on-year.
The number of national patent applications decreased by 26% year-on-year, and the number of IS-PCT international applications by Icelandic entities decreased by 52%.
The number of national design registrations increased slightly in 2021.
*With changes to the Trademark Act that came into effect on September 1, 2020, trademarks are now published for opposition two months before they are registered. Therefore, in this review, the number of decisions on the publication of trademarks is considered to ensure consistency in presentation before and after the aforementioned legal changes.


The total number of trademark applications increased by almost 7% year-on-year, or from 4,021 applications in 2020 to 4,284 applications in 2021. Of particular note was the 11% increase in international applications; in 2021, the ISIPO received 3,019 international trademark applications compared to 2,714 applications in 2020. The number of national applications by foreign parties decreased by 9% year-on-year (from 634 in 2021 to 577 in 2021). The number of national trademark applications from Icelandic entities continues to increase from year to year. The Office received 688 applications in 2021 compared to 673 in 2020, which is an increase of 2%. This is particularly interesting in light of the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The number of decisions on the publication of trademarks decreased considerably between years, or by 33%. The ISIPO made 2,651 decisions on publication in 2021, compared to 4,023 in 2020. The main difference is the publication of international trademarks, but their number decreased by 45% between years. The number of renewals of registered trademarks decreased by 5% year-on-year (3,133 renewals in 2021 compared to 3,287 in 2020). There was a decrease both in the number of international renewals (1%), national renewals by Icelandic parties (8%) and national renewals by foreign parties (12%).


The number of national patent applications decreased by 26% year-on-year. The ISIPO received only two national patent applications from foreign parties during the year, and at the same time, the number of national patent applications from Icelandic parties decreased from 44 in 2020 to 34 in 2021, or by 23%.

The total number of national patents granted in Iceland in 2021 decreased from nine in 2020 to seven in 2021. Four national patents were granted to Icelandic entities in 2021 and three to foreign entities.

The number of Icelandic PCT applications decreased by 52% year-on-year, but 12 such applications were submitted in 2021 compared to 25 in 2020, which was a record year. IS-PCT applications are international PCT applications filed in Iceland where the applicant is Icelandic.

The number of confirmed European patents at the ISIPO decreased slightly in 2021 compared to the previous year. In 2021, 1,413 European patents were confirmed in Iceland compared to 1,445 in 2020, which is a decrease of 2%. This is only the second time since Iceland became a member of the European Patent Convention that the number of confirmed patents has decreased year-on-year, the other time being in 2020.


The number of applications for registration of designs increased greatly between years. 184 applications for the registration of designs were received by the ISIPO in 2021 compared to 120 in 2020, which is an increase of 53%. Most notable was the significant increase in the number of national applications from foreign parties, but 79 such applications were received by the Office in 2021 compared to only four in 2020. The number of national applications from Icelandic parties for registration of designs remained the same, seven such applications having been received in 2021. However, the number of international applications for design registration decreased by 10% between years; 98 such applications were received in 2021 compared to 109 in 2020.

Rulings and decisions

In 2021, the Intellectual Property Office ruled in 14 objection cases and determined the validity of registration.


Heildarfjöldi vörumerkjaumsókna jókst um tæp 7% milli ára eða úr 4.017 umsóknum árið 2020 í 4.287 umsóknir árið 2021. Munaði þar helst um 11% fjölgun á alþjóðlegum umsóknum; árið 2021 barst Hugverkastofunni 3.021 alþjóðleg vörumerkjaumsókn samanborið við 2.710 umsóknir árið 2020. Landsbundnum umsóknum erlendra aðila fækkaði um 9% milli ára (úr 578 árið 2021 í 634 árið 2020). Fjöldi landsbundinna vörumerkjaumsókna frá íslenskum aðilum heldur áfram að aukast milli ára. 688 umsóknir bárust Hugverkastofunni árið 2021 samanborið við 673 árið 2020 sem er aukning um 2%. Er þetta sérstaklega áhugavert í ljósi neikvæðra efnahagslegra áhrifa af COVID-19 faraldrinum, en slíkum umsóknum fjölgaði um 5% á árinu 2020.Ákvörðunum um birtingu vörumerkja fækkaði töluvert milli ára, eða um 33%. Hugverkastofan tók 2.658 ákvarðanir um birtingu árið 2021, samanborið við 4.018 árið 2020. Munar þar helst um birtingar alþjóðlegra vörumerkja en þeim fækkaði um 45% milli ára.Endurnýjunum skráðra vörumerkja fækkaði um 5% milli ára (3.133 endurnýjanir árið 2021 samanborið við 3.287 árið 2020). Fækkun var bæði í fjölda alþjóðlegra endurnýjana (1%), landsbundinna endurnýjana íslenskra aðila (8%) og landsbundinna endurnýjana erlendra aðila (12%).*Með breytingum á vörumerkjalögum sem tóku gildi 1. september 2020 eru vörumerki nú birt til andmæla tveimur mánuðum áður en þau eru skráð. Því er í þessari yfirferð miðað við fjölda ákvarðana um birtingu vörumerkja til að gæta samræmis í framsetningu fyrir og eftir fyrrgreindar lagabreytingar.


Landsbundnum einkaleyfaumsóknum fækkaði um 26% milli ára. Engin landsbundin einkaleyfisumsókn erlendra aðila barst Hugverkastofunni á árinu og á sama tíma fækkaði landsbundnum einkaleyfaumsóknum íslenskra aðila úr 44 árið 2020 í 34 árið 2021, eða um 23%.Heildarfjöldi landsbundinna einkaleyfa sem veitt voru hérlendis árið 2021 lækkaði úr níu árið 2020 í sjö árið 2021. Fjögur landsbundin einkaleyfi voru veitt til íslenskra aðila árið 2021 og þrjú til erlendra aðila.Íslenskum PCT umsóknum fækkaði um 52% milli ára, en 12 slíkar umsóknir voru lagðar inn árið 2021 samanborið við 25 árið 2020 sem var metár. IS-PCT umsóknir eru alþjóðlegar PCT umsóknir sem lagðar eru inn á Íslandi þar sem umsækjandi er íslenskur.Staðfestum evrópskum einkaleyfum hjá Hugverkastofunni fækkaði lítillega árið 2021 miðað við árið á undan. Árið 2021 voru 1.409 evrópsk einkaleyfi staðfest hér á landi samanborið við 1.445 árið 2020, sem er samdráttur um 2%. Er það í annað skipti frá því að Ísland gerðist aðili að evrópska einkaleyfasamningnum sem fækkun verður á fjölda staðfestra einkaleyfa milli ára, en þeim fækkaði einnig árið 2020.


Umsóknum um skráningu hönnunar fjölgaði mikið milli ára. 169 umsóknir um skráningu hönnunar bárust Hugverkastofunni árið 2021 samanborið við 120 árið 2020, sem er aukning um 40% milli ára. Munaði þar helst um mikla aukningu í fjölda landsbundinna umsókna frá erlendum aðilum, en 79 slíkar umsóknir bárust Hugverkastofunni árið 2021 samanborið við aðeins fjórar árið 2020. Fjöldi landsbundinna umsókna íslenskra aðila um skráningu hönnunar stóð í stað, en sjö slíkar umsóknir bárust árið 2021. Alþjóðlegum umsóknum um skráningu hönnunar fækkaði hins vegar um 24% milli ára; 83 slíkar umsóknir bárust árið 2021 samanborið við 109 árið 2020.

Rulings and decisions

In 2021, the Intellectual Property Office ruled in 14 objection cases and determined the validity of registration.

Human resources and operations

The ISIPO employs a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, including in psychology, business administration, law, political science, administration, engineering, computer science, teaching, anthropology, dentistry and project management.

At the end of 2021, 37 employees worked at the Office, 26 women and 11 men. Seven employees went on longer or shorter maternity or paternity leave during the year. One employee worked at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) as a seconded expert, and one employee was hired for a summer job through the Directorate of Labour’s initiative on summer jobs for students. 

Stella, the employee association of ISIPO, hosted several events during the year despite various restrictions. The most noteworthy was a whitewater rafting trip down Hvítá in September.

Equal pay policy and equality plan

The ISIPO emphasises gender equality regarding wages, promotions and employment. All employees, regardless of gender, must enjoy equal pay and the same benefits for the same or equally valuable work, so that there is no unreasonable wage difference.
ISIPO employees shall also enjoy the same opportunities, rights and working conditions regardless of race, nationality, religion, colour, economy, ancestry and other irrelevant factors.


The ISIPO operates under Group A of the Treasury, and its budget appropriation is determined in each year’s general budget, without any contributions from the Treasury. The operation is financed with service fees from the domestic and foreign parties who have chosen to protect their intellectual property in Iceland. The Office’s scope of operations is therefore in many ways different from that of other government bodies, and the Office's activities are determined by the number of applications and other matters which it processes at each time. Various external factors can also influence the number of applications, such as exchange rate developments and the economic conditions in Iceland and abroad.  

The operation of the ISIPO in 2021 went quite well during the year despite the effects of the pandemic. The Office's budget appropriation was ISK 571.5 million. As mentioned above, the operation is entirely financed by service fees. Operating income was ISK 527.9 million, somewhat below plan and about 2.5% less than in 2020. The most significant difference is in income due to international trademark applications, which was somewhat lower than expected. The largest proportion of the income was for trademarks, or 62% of the total income, followed by income from patents, which was 37%, while income from design was 1%. The ISIPO’s non-governmental income was ISK 12.6 million which comes in the form of reimbursements from international organisations for costs incurred due to collaborative projects, travel costs and the salary costs of an expert working at EUIPO.
Expenses were somewhat lower than expected in the budget, which can mostly be explained by the fact that no maintenance work was undertaken on the property at Engjateigur 3, as well as lower travel and staff costs. Total expenses amounted to ISK 527.9 million with wage costs being the largest single item, i.e. 76%.

Operating income: 

515.3 million ISK

Special income: 

12.6 million ISK

Operating costs: 

527.9 million ISK



Medium length of employment



Medium age