Archive for April, 2011

Weekly Round-Up of New Green Trademarks-Week of 4/26/2011

Here’s the rundown on the green trademarks processed by the USPTO this week:

  • Green trade/service marks published for opposition: 71

Including the following:

          Mark Image        Mark Image            Mark Image

  • Green certification/collective marks published for opposition:  None this week

 

  •  Green trade/service marks awarded registration:  60

 Including the following:

Mark Image           Mark Image                    Mark Image           Mark Image             Mark Image

  • Green certification/collective marks awarded registration:  None this week.

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“Brown” Takes Down HYBRID GREEN Trademark With a Bankshot

 

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) recently issued another in its recent series of non-precedential opinions hostile to trademarks for clean technology that contain the term “green”.  The case is United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS) v. Powertech Industrial Co. Ltd., Opposition No. 91184197 (TTAB 2011). For the complete opinion, click here.

 

Powertech filed its application back in 2007 for the mark HYBRID GREEN UPS for a variety of electronics supplies in Class 9, including, notably, universal power supplies and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs).  Powertech touted the “green” and “energy saving” benefits of the products. The Examiner required a disclaimer of the term UPS, apparently as generic or descriptive of one or both of these items, but raised no issue with the terms HYBRID or GREEN. Of course, this was before the TTAB started to take a hard line on green-formative trademarks in non-precedential cases like In re Cenveo (2009) (affirming refusal of GREEN-KEY and Design), In re Bargoose Home Textiles, Inc. (2009) (ALLERGYGREEN), and In re Calera Corp (2010) (GREEN CEMENT).

 

The mark then published for opposition, at which point UPS came down on it like a big brown truck.  UPS’s main issue, of course, was the presence of the initials UPS in the subject mark, which had been disclaimed as descriptive matter. Although the Board agreed with UPS that its mark is very famous, the Board found no likelihood of confusion given that UPS trades in shipping services and Powertech trades in power supplies.

 

But then an odd thing happened: UPS won anyway. Why? UPS had made a secondary argument that the mark was merely descriptive, and the Board agreed with it on that point. The initials UPS, as mentioned earlier had already been disclaimed. HYBRID was deemed descriptive in view of the products’ dual AC and DC power outputs. GREEN was deemed descriptive in view of the touted “energy saving” and “material resources economically” features of the products. With no distinctive material remaining in the mark, the application was dead. As is often the case, this applicant was damned by the admissions of descriptiveness in its own marketing materials.  As a result, UPS was able to defeat a trademark application despite the Board’s finding of no likelihood of confusion with UPS’ own mark (luckily for UPS, the presence of the UPS initials in Powertech’s mark gave it standing to bring the opposition where it otherwise might not have had it).

 

This case represents another strong signal from the TTAB that the term GREEN will be very difficult to protect in a mark, although it has yet to issue a precedential opinion on the point.  It also suggests the possibility that HYBRID, and other eco-friendly terms, will be subjected to the same treatment.

 

 

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Sustainable Marks Author Appearing at Green IP Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day everyone!

 

I am proud to announce that I will be appearing at the Intellectual Property Congress for Green Energy Technology, taking place on April 27-28, 2011 at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District. For more information about the conference, or to register, click the banner above or here.  Use discount code FYH352 when you sign-up for a $500 discount off the registration fee.

 

This inaugural Green IP event will feature speakers from the USPTO, the Department of Energry, and from three leading universities, as well as in-house counsel and green energy industry experts, and yours truly speaking on opportunities and challenges in green branding and marketing (the trademark side of green IP).

 

I will also be moderating the featured panel on capitalizing on accelerated patent review for green inventions, which will cover the USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program, foreign patent office programs for sustainable innovation, and other effective strategies for leveraging eco-friendly intellectual property.  On the panel will be:

 

  • Richard T. Ogawa, Esq., Chief Intellectual Property Office of Stion, Soraa, Topanga Technologies, & PVT Solar

 

I look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

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Weekly Round-Up of New Green Trademarks-Week of 4/19/2011

Here’s the rundown on the green trademarks processed by the USPTO this week::

  • Green trade/service marks published for opposition: 49

Including the following:

 

Mark Image Mark Image Mark Image

 

  • Green certification/collective marks published for opposition:  None this week
  • Green trade/service marks awarded registration:  55

Including the following:

Mark Image

Mark Image Mark Image Mark Image

  • Green certification/collective marks awarded registration:  None this week.

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Sustainable Marks Recognized as a Top Blog by LexisNexis

I am proud to announce that Sustainable Marks has been named to the LexisNexis 2011 list of Top 50 blogs in the Environmental Law & Climate Change Community. Thanks to all of you who cast your votes!

 

 

LexisNexis Environmental Law and Climate Change Community 2011 Top 50 Blogs

 

 

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