28 Apr World IP Day 2020: Innovate for a Green Future – The Role that Trademarks can Play
‘Global Warming’ ‘Climate Change’ ‘Ozone Depletion’ These are environmental phenomena that Bahamians are hearing more and more about as awareness campaigns and demands for change flood social media platforms. As a result, many Bahamians are becoming conscious of environmental issues and many have begun demanding products that are environmentally friendly.
Trademarks can have an important role to play in ensuring that consumers know that the products that they are receiving have met certain environmentally friendly standards. In The Bahamas, our laws provide for a type of trademark called a certification trademark. Certification trademarks certify the goods upon which they appear in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristic from goods which do not bear such mark. The owner of a certification trademark cannot provide the goods or conduct trade with respect to the goods being certified but can only regulate certification of those goods. Two certification trademarks that many are familiar with globally are ‘DARJEELING’ and ‘Rainforest Alliance’.
Another type of trademark that can ensure standardization of goods is a collective trademark, which is provided for under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Collective trademarks may be registered by an Association and the mark may be used by any member of that Association. An example of a collective trademark registered in the USA is “100% Recycled Paperboard”.
The term collective trademark does not appear in The Bahamas’ Trade Marks Act, but the Act provides for same as follows: “Where any association or person undertakes the examination of any goods in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy or other characteristic and certifies the result of such examination by mark used upon or in connection with such goods, the Registrar may, if he shall judge it to be to the public advantage, permit such association or person to register such mark as a trade mark in respect of such goods…”