Archive for April, 2011

Weekly Round-Up of New Green Trademarks-Week of 4/12/2011

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

  • Green trade/service marks published for opposition: 98

Including the following:

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  • Green certification/collective marks published for opposition:  None this week
  • Green trade/service marks awarded registration:  67

Including the following:

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and also

 

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

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CBS Under Fire for its EcoAd Program

This week, the Center for Environmental Health, Ecopreneurist.com, Friends of the Earth, and Rainforest Action Network sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to open an investigation of CBS-Ecomedia’s “EcoAd” program.

 

Under the EcoAd program, which was launched earlier this year, advertisements feature the following logo, described as “a green stamp of approval”:

 

 

Display of the logo in connection with the advertisements was supposed to “deliver added value beyond traditional advertising”, presumably in increased goodwill and recognition for helping to protect the environment.  A portion of the moneys spent by advertisers in the program are to go towards funding environmental and clean energy projects which have been vetted by municipalities and public entities.   Initial advertisers included Chevrolet, Safeway, O Organics, SunPower Corp., Boston Scientific, PG&E, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center,  Pacific Coast Termite, Port of Los Angeles, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Avidia Bank.

 

So, what’s the problem?

 

Well, according to the complainants, CBS does not vet the advertisers for environmental responsibility and the only requirement to have the EcoAd seal affixed to one’s advertising is the payment of money.  But, according to the complaint, viewers seeing the spots will get the false impression that the advertisers have met some standard of environmental friendliness in order to qualify for the mark. In short, the complainants seem to feel that the program allows advertisers to simply purchase green goodwill, like a Church indulgence, without necessarily being green.  As Jennifer Kaplan, site director for Ecopreneurist stated, “”Eco-labels that can be bought for the price of a TV ad threaten to further erode consumer confidence and diminish the value of legitimate environmental practices. ”

 

The complainants allege that EcoAd constitutes an unsubstantiated environmental seal, violates the Green Guides, and is an unfair or deceptive act that provides CBS with an unfair competitive advantage over other advertising outlets. However, they acknowledge that, if revised, the program has the potential to offer great benefits to local environmental and energy savings projects. In terms of revisions, the complainants suggest: 1) the inclusion of a disclaimer; 2) the development of criteria for evaluating whether a product or service can be an EcoAd; and 3) oversight by an independent third-party.

 

CBS responds that the program is not a green certification or seal of approval, and that it has committed to running explanatory ads about the program in relevant markets. In an e-mailed response, the company stated “It appears that some groups who are not as familiar with our program would prefer it to be revised to match their tastes, even while they continue to acknowledge its power and potential to do great things for the environment. Meanwhile other groups, including many of the most recognizable leaders in the environmental community find our program to be exemplary.”

 

More on this case as it develops.

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Round-Up of New Green Trademarks-Week of 4/5/2011

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

  • Green trade/service marks published for opposition: 73

Including the following:

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

 

  • Green trade/service marks awarded registration:  62

Including the following:

 

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

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Weekly Round-Up of New Green Trademarks-Week of 3/29/2011

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

  • Green trade/service marks published for opposition: 91

Including the following:

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

 

  • Green trade/service marks awarded registration:  64

Including the following:

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

 

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