Clean Technology 2009

Protecting Green Technology and Green Brands: Strategies for Getting Your Eco-Patents and Eco-Marks Through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

E.L. Lane
Luce Forward / Green Patent Blog, US

Keywords: patent, trademark, green brands, obviousness, clean technology, solar, gasification, wind, geothermal


I. From PV manufacturing to geothermal drilling and from gasification to wind turbines, many of the most successful clean energy technologies were previously developed in other industries and only later adapted to for use in the clean technology boom. While these arguably are valuable innovations in themselves and may be worthy of patent protection, patenting such new uses of known processes poses a challenge because of certain recent developments in patent law. Part I of this presentation discusses some patent drafting and prosecution strategies for companies applying existing technologies to new clean energy uses that may wish to seek patent protection for these new applications. II. How do businesses protect their green brands? The use of eco-marks – trademarks, service marks and certification marks that communicate environmentally-friendly products or services – is one important way. Part II of this presentation discusses strategies for obtaining federal registration for eco-marks, including thoughts on how to overcome and work around descriptiveness problems, discussion of certification marks, and cautionary words about “greenwashing.”
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