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Certification Marks and Collective Mark

Written by Corinne Day on 20 September 2007

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Certification and collective marks differ from trade marks as trade marks act as an indication of origin of the goods or services as being from one particular undertaking.

A certification mark is defined in s 50(1) of the Trade Mark Act 1994 as follows; “A certification mark is a mark that indicates that the goods and services in connection with which it is used are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics.”

The main feature of a certification mark is that it is used not by the proprietor of the mark but instead by his authorised users for the purpose of guaranteeing to the relevant public that the goods or services possess a particular characteristic. The proprietor’s mark certifies the presence of the characteristic and will authorise the use of the mark to anyone who can demonstrate that the goods and services for which it will be used have that characteristic.

A collective mark is defined in s 49(1) of the Act as follows; “A collective mark is a mark distinguishing the goods or services of members of the association which is the proprietor of the mark from those of other undertakings.”

The main feature of a collective mark is that it is used as an indication to the relevant public that goods or services originate from a member of a particular association. It is therefore a sign of membership.

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