Originally posted 2011-05-05 17:33:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“Green trademarks” that is. Green-themed, green-related, green to go, green for action! Well, trends aren’t just for marketers — you can find them in the media too. First, Susan Scafidi — trend-tracker extraordinaire, and, as you will see, a trend-maker too. This was on her awesomely chic blog but refers to an interview she did that was published in a Milwaukee newspaper on April 21st:
Eco-friendly fashion has escaped the confines of shapeless, formless, colorless sack dresses and ugly earth sandals to become a major fashion trend, with cutting-edge retailers like Barney’s New York shouting, “Don’t Panic! It’s Organic!” and celebrities adding their names to labels that promise sustainable, recycled, natural, biodegradable, cruelty-free, fair trade fashion fixes. With the text on some hang tags longer than an editorial in an alternative weekly and the British Advertising Standards Authority cracking down on unsustainable claims regarding “sustainable” cotton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Lori Price asked your favorite law prof whether U.S. law offers any specific regulations regarding green clothing claims.
That should just about do it right there! But nope. Two days later, here’s the big trademark story on Ad Age:
Getting ready well in advance for today’s Earth Day events, marketers bombarded the Patent and Trademark Office last year for green-themed marks, leading to a 10% spike in trademark filings over 2006, according to a report released by the law firm Dechert.
According to the annual report “Trends in Trademarks,” filings for new trademarks last year topped 300,000, setting a record buoyed by interest in environmentalism. The previous record was 289,000 filings, set in 2000 during the internet boom.
Now that’s a trend! Articles about eco-trademarks.
Now… “an interest in environmentalism,” eh? Let me suggest an inconvenient truth: Trademarks are about gelt. That’s what the article quoting Susan is about — the fact that there is (gasp!) no regulation over claims of “greenness” made on the stuff people sell you. As Susan says:
“The law hasn’t caught up with eco or organic, so frankly, it’s still easy to be green,” said Susan Scafidi, a visiting professor at Fordham Law School, who teaches fashion law. “So long as you are not defrauding the consumer, you can say anything, and so long as no one complains, you can do anything.”
Actually, it sounds like the law has caught up pretty well, no? At least until some legislator or interest group finds a way to catch up with it and… “buoy” some governmental “interest.”