Thoughts and Strategies for the Eco-Mark Era


Recently, IPLaw360, an online intellectual property law newsletter, published my article, “Protecting Green Brands in the Eco-Mark Era” (eco-marksarticle.PDF).  The article ties together many of the themes about eco-marks that I’ve discussed in this space.

In particular, the article presents some considerations and strategies for protecting brands that reflect environmentally-friendly products, services or business practices. 

Those include determining whether the green ways are part of the brand owner’s core business (if they are, it may be more difficult to get a U.S. trademark registration and a certification mark may be a better path), artful drafting of the listing of goods and services to omit the green aspect if possible, and adding a non-descriptive element to the mark if the brand includes an environmentally-descriptive term.

The article also explains the concept of the certification mark, which is owned by the certifying organization, not the business using the mark.  Generally, a business contacts a certifying organization and requests evaluation of its goods or services, and if they pass muster, the certifying organization permits the business to use the certification mark on its products.

Finally, the article warns against the temptation of “greenwashing” and provides some examples of the growing number of complaints about deceptive green advertising and increased monitoring and enforcement by both government agencies and the eco-conscious blogosphere.

I hope the article will be of some use to those seeking protection for their green trademarks.

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.