Like the Song Says, It’s Not Easy Being Green

by T+B Blog Team on October 10, 2012

Just because you say you’re green doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. (Kermit the Frog and the Jolly Green Giant might be the most obvious exceptions.) And now the USPTO is asking that trademark applicants prove that their goods/services are really green. That’s “green” as in environmentally friendly … not the color.

The USPTO is now on the watch for trademark applicants using “green” when the goods/services are not really environmentally friendly. Although the policy is not yet formalized, applications using the word “green” must now show a degree of “environmental friendliness.”

This more rigorous review of “green” trademark applicants falls under the USPTO’s authority to screen out deceptive marks. Since the use of the word “green” implies environmental friendliness, goods or services that are not really environmentally friendly that use the word could be misleading to consumers. In those cases, the USPTO would rule that the mark is deceptive.

In related news, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently issued revised green marketing guidelines to help ensure that marketing claims about environmentally friendly products are truthful and non-deceptive.

As Forbes reported, “green is the new black.” And sometimes consumers even pay more for a product that they think is environmentally friendly. Sales of green cleaning products, for example, more than doubled in the U.S. between 2007 and 2011.

Speaking of green … it’s not just goods/services that reach for green status; companies do too. Take a look at Interbrand’s list of Best Global Green Brands 2012, with Toyota at the top of the list.

Which green product did you most recently purchase?

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