Published May 2, 2024

The share of green European Union Trademarks (EUTMs) continues to rise among a growing interest in sustainability according to a study published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The analysis reveals that in 2022, 14.5% of all applications, amounting to 19,659 EUTMs, referred to goods or services aimed at environmental protection and sustainable development. This marks an increase from the 13.3% recorded in the prior year. The number of green EUTMs has seen remarkable growth in recent years with an average annual growth of 10% over the period 1996 – 2022. European Union (EU) firms account for more than 60% of all green trademarks filed with the EUIPO.

Green EUTMs on the rise among EU firms

The year 2021 marked a milestone with 21,281 green EUTM filings, setting a record that underscores the growing importance of sustainability in the European business landscape. Although 2022 saw a slight decrease to 19,659 applications, the proportion of green trademarks continued to grow given the overall reduction in EUTM applications during the same period.

The EU defied the downturn, however, as an all-time high of almost 12 thousand green EUTMs were filed by EU firms in 2022. This represents almost 14% of all EUTMs filed by EU firms. While this lags behind the 15.5% share among applications filed by non-EU firms, the latest results show that the gap has been narrowing in recent years.

The long-term trend shows strong growth of green EUTMs

While the slight dip in overall green EUTM numbers in 2022 might suggest a momentary pause, the strong overall growth since 1996, both in absolute numbers and as a share of the total number of EUTMs, paints a picture of growing interest in sustainable goods and services.

From approximately 1,000 green trademarks in 1996 to nearly 20,000 filed in 2022, the annual growth rate over this period stands at 10%. Specifically, EU firms have experienced an 11% annual growth rate, whereas non-EU firms have seen a growth rate of 8%. Until 2014, EU firms led in the share of green EUTM filings compared to non-EU firms. Post-2014, non-EU applicants have consistently filed a higher percentage of green EUTMs.

China and Germany lead the way

Looking at the origins of the applications, China is at the forefront with 3,720 green EUTMs. Among EU member states, Germany records the highest number of green EUTMs with 3,297 green EUTMs. When it comes to the share of green EUTMs of total trademark applications, Switzerland leads with 21.6%. In the EU, Slovenia has the highest proportion of green applications with 19.8%, jumping from 10th place among EU Member States in 2021.

The analysis is based on an algorithmic search through more than 80 million terms in the goods and services specifications of all EUTM applications filed since 1996, identifying those that include at least one of over 900 “green” terms. These terms, defined by experts, denote a focus on environmental protection and sustainable development, providing a comprehensive foundation for understanding the evolution of green EUTMs.

Full report: Green EU trademarks

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