Global Battle Brews Over Green Building Eco-marks


The Green Building Initiative (GBI) is a Portland, Oregon non-profit that promotes green building practices.  GBI offers an assessment protocol and rating system for environmentally friendly building design under the GREEN GLOBES mark.

GBI is the exclusive licensee of the GREEN GLOBES mark and owns two U.S. Service Mark Registrations for the mark – U.S. Registration No. 3,549,714 for the GREEN GLOBES design (714_reg.pdf) (shown above) and U.S. Registration No. 3,549,715 for the word mark (715_reg.pdf).  Both registrations are for the following services in Class 42:

Providing temporary use of online non-downloadable software for evaluating, rating, comparing, certifying, and/or improving the efficiency, sustainability, and environmental performance of both new and existing buildings 

Earlier this month, GBI sued Green Globe International (GGI) in federal court in Oregon, alleging that GGI is infringing its GREEN GLOBES marks by using the mark GREEN GLOBE in connection with a certification system for environmentally friendly building design and construction.

According to the complaint (gbi-complaint.pdf), GBI has been using its GREEN GLOBES mark since at least as early as February 1, 2005.  However, GGI’s web site states that the company’s Green Globe brand (logo shown below) and program were launched in 1992.  A quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database yields no registrations for GGI.


GBI’s complaint requests damages and injunctive relief.

Thanks to Augie Rakow for his post on the Cleantech Litigation Report, where I initially read about this case.

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.