Even trademarks show interest in the climate change and become “green”

Climate change is becoming more and more a debated topic within the European Union. On this matter, the EU Commission promised to create a European “Green Deal” with the aim to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050, through the creation of new technologies, the introduction of new goods and services on the market and the development of already existing products in a more sustainable way.

EUIPO study on “green trademarks”

In this context, even intellectual property seems to be an important aspect to achieve these goals, firstly through patent filings, which are a symptom of the technologic innovation in this field.

Nevertheless, a study conducted in 2021 and implemented in 2022 by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), highlighted a trend that sees trademarks, which in this case are called “green trademarks”, as indicators of innovation tied to the protection of the environment.

The study under exam, after identifying in the Nice classification a list of “green terms” (such as photovoltaic, wind energy, solar heating, etc.…), analyzed more that 2 million European trademark applications filed at EUIPO since the beginning of its activity (in 1996) in order to verify the possible presence of terms connected to the environmental protection or development and consequently classifying EU trademarks in the “EU green trademark” category.

The results of the EUIPO study

The study evidenced the growing interests of citizens, entrepreneurs and companies in climate change and sustainability, which reflects, as a matter of fact, the number of EU trademarks filed at EUIPO. The number of EU trademark applications filed during these years containing at least one “green” term increased exponentially, reaching a peak in 2021, with a total number of green EU trademarks equal to 18,726 and a percentage on the total EU trademarks filed in 2021 equal to 12,0%, a record.

Moreover, the study highlighted that, in absolute terms, green EU trademarks have been filed in a higher percentage by Extra EU applicants rather than by EU applicants (14,1% against 10,6% in 2021). Firstly, there is China followed by South Korea, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. Among the European Member States, the main countries which filed green trademark in 2021 are Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Denmark.

The research also showed that SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) filed a higher percentage of green trademarks than big companies, in particular in the fields of “Energy conservation” and “Energy production”, which represent together more that 48% of the filed green trademark, besides the one in the “pollution control”, of “Transportation” of “Climate Change” and “Recycling services”.

In conclusion, the study found the presence of an increasing number of “green” filings in the European Union. This shows that the considerations on the environment are growing more important for trademark owners, who file applications, and for consumers who purchase goods and services originating from them.

The growth of green EU trademark filings, which in 2021 saw an even higher increase, shows therefore how “green” technologies and other environment activities are expanding on the market, contributing to the achievement of the goals projected by The European Commission by 2050.

Tania Giampieri