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Trademark applications filed are applications to register a trademark with a national or regional Intellectual Property (IP) office. A trademark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit on payment of additional fees. Aggregate direct trademark applications are those filed by applicants without regard to the residency of the applicant. This figure is used when the national office does not provide a breakdown by direct resident and direct nonresident applications.