Certification Marks – what are they?
A certification trade mark (CTM) shows that a trader’s goods or services are certified as meeting particular standards.
Standards commonly certified are:
- method of manufacture
- geographic origin
A CTM will usually be used on the goods or services of different traders, not just on those of one particular trader.
What do certification marks look like, most people will be familiar with this one below.
Certification trade marks take various forms just as ordinary trade marks do.
For example, the Woolmark doesn’t tell you who made or marketed the clothing. Instead, they certify some aspect of the fabric used in the clothing.
This mark certifies that the fabric is pure new wool.
The others which I personally have had experience are the Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property Certification Marks.
For example the Label of Authenticity which is used to identify that the T-shirt, sculpture or painting which is being purchased is authentic and has been verified by the culture from which it originates.
RULES FOR A CERTIFICATION TRADE MARK
The rules for the use of a CTM must specify as a minimum:
- the standards that goods or services must meet
- how it will be decided if the standards have been met
- the requirements an approved certifier must meet
- the requirements the owner of the CTM, or an approved user, must meet
- any other requirements for the use of the CTM
- the procedure for resolving a dispute about whether goods or services meet the certification standards, or about any other issue regarding the CTM.
Are they worth it?
Registering a certification mark can involve considerable time and cost.
There are many occasions when licensing an ordinary trade mark can achieve an equal commercial outcome to licensing a certification mark.
Whether a certification scheme for products or services should be implemented by way of an ordinary mark or certification mark will depend on nature of the proposed scheme.
Trade mark licensing separate the badge from the origin. It separates the legal control over the mark and separates this relationship using a license which is issued by the owner to the licensee
to exploit the trade mark. See Brandsworth Licensing The requirements which are met by trade mark licensing provided that sufficient connection in the course of trade was maintained by the owner and the licensee’s products and services, and the licensing was not deceptive in practice. This relationship can be achieved by a Brandsworth Licensing agreement.
A business or organisation wishing to establish a certification trade mark would be advised to consider an ordinary mark. In the licensing contact, ordinary trade marks can operate in a similar manner to certification trade marks and without the regulatory burden and additional costs associated with the registration of certification marks.
Trade Marks and certification trade marks form a large part of my legal practice. Brandsworth Licensing has a solution for all types of trade marks and other types of licensing models.
More and more, lawyers in the corporate sector and in-house legal service providers are looking for opportunities to contribute to the community using their legal skills.
I am a former in-house legal counsel and I do provide in-house outsourcing as part of my legal services provision.
If you are a small business enterprise (SME) or Corporate Enterprise in the Illawarra, Wollongong , Southern Highlands, South Coast or surrounding areas including Camden Picton and Western areas, and need corporate in-house legal services please call me.