Archive for August, 2010

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is a term used to describe advertising or marketing, including trademark use, that creates the false perception that a product or service is eco-friendly. It’s a combination of the terms “green” and “whitewash”.  The prevalence of greenwashing is an unfortunate outgrowth of the new green economy and preys upon the enthusiasm consumers have for making responsible purchasing decisions. Sadly, some businesses find it easier to simply market themselves as green rather than put out the care and expense to walk the walk. In other cases, business are themselves honestly confused about the nature of the claims they are making.

A 1997 report randomly surveyed 1,018 consumer products whose marketing or packaging made a total of 1,753 environmental claims. Amazingly, only one was free of false claims. If extrapolated out, this suggests that the vast majority of eco-friendly claims in the marketplace are false.

The report went on to identify the major types of deception it found, which it styled “sins”. We will discuss these in subsequent posts.

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Green Golf Course First of its Kind- No, Really

The New York Times profiled the Vineyard Golf Club on Martha’s Vineyard:

Opened eight years ago, the club is thought to be the only completely organic golf course in the United States, its 18 holes groomed without the use of a single synthetic pesticide, fertilizer, herbicide or other artificial chemical treatment.

President Obama has already played the course twice, and is expected to return again soon.

To access the full article, please click here.

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8/17/2010 – Weekly Round-Up of New Green Marks

This week, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office processed the following volume of green marks:

  • Green trade/service Marks published for opposition: 114
  • Green certification/collective marks published for opposition: 1
  • Green trade/service Marks awarded registration: 21
  • Green certification/collective mark awarded registration: 0

The number of green marks published is up quite a bit from last week, but the number of registrations granted is down. However, the number of registrations issued as a whole is down, so this may have more to do with USPTO processing than any actual trends in the green economy.  There’s consistently been a huge spread between green marks published vs. registered. While there is always substantial spread between all marks published vs. marks registered (because many published marks are filed based on intent-to-use and become abandoned because use never begins), this spread may reflect the differential between the amount of enthusiasm out there for the green economy and the reality that the green economy is still very much in its infancy.

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It’s Even Less Easy Being Green post-Calera

In In re Calera Corporation, Serial No. 77409087 (non-precedential) (March 24, 2010)  (access the full opinion here), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”)  affirmed the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Examiner’s refusal of the mark:

Mark Image

» Continue reading “It’s Even Less Easy Being Green post-Calera”

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8/10/2010 – Weekly Round-Up of New Green Marks

In a relatively slow week, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office processed the following volume of green marks:

  • Green trade/service Marks published for opposition: 86
  • Green certification/collective marks published for opposition: 0
  • Green trade/service Marks awarded registration: 32
  • Green certification/collective mark awarded registration: 1

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