Quarterly Clean-Tech Law Alert
Legal Insight for the Clean-Tech Community
Clean Edge has teamed up with Mintz Levin to provide key legal updates for the clean-tech community on a quarterly basis. The following articles and legal updates were written by Mintz Levin. See contact information at the bottom of this message if you have legal questions regarding these updates or would like to learn more about Mintz Levin services.
Energy & Environment Update ? 10/7/2012
By David Leiter and Sarah Litke
This week?s issue of Energy & Environment Update summarizes the latest news of interest on a wide range of issues affecting energy and environmental affairs. From local and international governments and agencies, small businesses and multinational corporations, as well as industry associations and experts ? the update is condensed and organized for your convenience.
European Community Designs Protect Industrial Designs That May Not Be Protected in the US and Elsewhere
By Anne Campbell
European Council Regulation no. 6/2002 on community designs came into force on 6th March 2002, and provides design protection for types of industrial designs which might not necessarily be protectable in other jurisdictions, such as the US. Both registered and unregistered design protection exists and covers all countries which are EC member states. A registered design confers on the holder an exclusive right to use the design and prevent third parties from doing so, with no requirement to prove copying. Unlike a registered design, an unregistered design right does not confer an exclusive right on the holder because copying must be proven for infringement to be found.
The registration system is administered by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), acting in its capacity as the trademarks and designs registration office of the European Union. OHIM?s website indicates that, to date, it has received applications for and registered around 460,000 designs and that the number processed annually is increasing at a rate of about 75,000 per year.
Renewable Energy Incentives Expand in the Northeast
By David O’Connor
While political gridlock at the federal level threatens crucial incentives for renewable power and some states seem to be slowing or at least re-evaluating their policies, a few states are still pressing forward aggressively. One such state is Massachusetts which recently enacted legislation that expands incentives for developing wind, solar, hydro and other forms of renewable power generation, many of which can support projects throughout the New England states, New York and the nearest three Canadian provinces.
The LEED v4 (formerly LEED 2012) Controversy
By Jennifer Sacco Smith
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) aspires to update its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system every few years, with a goal of continuously improving its sustainable building standards. There has been some controversy over the upcoming update (originally called LEED 2012, but now rebranded as LEED v4) and about whether the federal government, and more specifically, the US General Services Administration (GSA) will use LEED v4 to evaluate the level of sustainability of its building program for the next [five] years. This follows Congressional action late last year limiting the Department of Defense?s ability to pursue certain levels of LEED certification. While there are some broader philosophical disputes about the wisdom of the federal government adopting LEED standards, the controversy over the LEED update stems in part from run of the mill concerns that LEED may disfavor suppliers of certain types of construction materials. In response to concerns among its members on this point, the USGBC announced that it would delay the ballot to approve LEED v4.