Trademark tactics for greentech innovators: Five tips for kickstarting your brand

4 minute read
11 April 2024


Green technology – or greentech – companies play a critical role in promoting sustainability across various industries. By fostering innovation, greentech companies address various environmental and sustainability challenges our planet faces, such as the availability of sustainable food and energy sources, clean drinking water and disposing of waste, to name a few. 

Trademarks play a vital role in protecting a greentech company's brand identity and help distinguish their products and services in the market. Below, we dive into five trademark tips for greentech companies embarking on their journey:

1. Choose a unique and distinctive brand

While it may be tempting to use words like "green" or "eco", these words are often overused in this sector and may not effectively differentiate you from your competitors.

Trademarks consisting of or incorporating weak elements may be deemed unregistrable on the basis that they lack sufficient distinctiveness to function effectively as trademarks. It's best to come up with a coined word or a word that has no connection with the goods or services you offer as these are typically the strongest brands. 

Distinctive and unique brands are often the least expensive to protect and the easiest to enforce.

2. Conduct a comprehensive trademark search before launching your brand

Trademark searches help you determine whether there are any obvious obstacles to your use and registration of the proposed trademark.  This will help you avoid potential legal disputes and will ultimately protect the investment you make in building your brand.

It may also give you a sense of what brands your competitors in the sustainable technology sector are protecting.

3. Apply for registration of your trademarks prior to unveiling your brand

The registration of your trademark gives rise to powerful rights (such as the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with your goods and services) and remedies to prevent infringement or the depreciation of the goodwill in your mark. Registration also provides public notice of your trademark rights, which deters third parties from adopting similar marks.

Given that the greentech sector is developing at a rapid rate – recent WIPO reports suggest nearly 130,000 green technology innovations – having registered trademark rights will help you grow your brand, protect your assets and carve out your market share.

4. Consider international protections before beginning expansion

If your greentech company plans to expand internationally, it is important to protect your brand in those key markets before entering them. Develop an international filing strategy and consider using international trademark registration systems, like the Madrid Protocol, that can streamline the process of filing trademark applications in multiple countries. 

5. Monitor and enforce your trademarks

An important aspect of trademark protection is actively monitoring the marketplace for unauthorized use of your brands. It is important to take legal action against infringers to preserve your brand's distinctiveness and reputation, as well as your market share. By monitoring the marketplace, you will strengthen your brand value.

Keep in mind that unlike other forms of IP that eventually expire – like patents, industrial designs and copyright – trademark protection may last in perpetuity provided the brand continues to be used in commerce. Therefore, trademarks are an important and valuable aspect of an IP portfolio for greentech companies.

Greentech companies are at the forefront of innovation and are essential to ensuring the viability and sustainability of our planet. By following these tips and building out your trademark strategy, greentech companies will be well on their way to safeguarding their brand assets, building consumer trust and establishing a strong brand presence in the market.   

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Gowling WLG professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.



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