PTO Rejects GREEN PATENT BLOG Trademark Application as “Merely Descriptive” (Prosecuting Eco-Marks, Part I)

In February, I filed a trademark application (gpbapplication.pdf) in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) for GREEN PATENT BLOG.  I figured I would compromise my credibility in matters of green intellectual property (IP) if I didn’t take available measures to protect my own green IP.

In the application, I avoided the trouble with eco-marks that I discussed in a couple of previous posts (see here and here).  That is, I drafted the listing of services to indicate their green aspect.  My listing is as follows:

ON-LINE JOURNALS, NAMELY, BLOGS FEATURING NEWS, INFORMATION AND LEGAL ANALYSIS RELATING TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW ISSUES IN THE CLEAN TECHNOLOGY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRIES

A few weeks ago, the PTO issued a first Office Action (gpboa.pdf) in which the trademark examiner rejected GREEN PATENT BLOG as “merely descriptive” of blogs that provide information on green technology (a trademark can’t be registered with the PTO if it is a generic term or descriptive of goods or services because that would restrict competitors from conveying information about their goods or services). 

Specifically, the examiner noted that BLOG is generic for blogging services, and GREEN PATENT describes the subject matter of the blog.  The Office Action stated that GREEN describes things that involve clean technology or renewable energy, and PATENT is generic for a form of intellectual property.  Finally, the examiner attached some evidence of internet usage of “green patents” that he says shows that the term describes clean technology patents.

I will be formulating a response to the Office Action in the next week or two and will report on it once it’s filed.  But don’t worry – Green Patent Blog will fight the good fight.  I’ll go all the way to the Supreme Court if I have to.

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.