Collective trade mark

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A collective trademark, collective trade mark, or collective mark is a trademark owned by an organization (such as an association), used by its members them to identify themselves with a level of quality or accuracy, geographical origin, or other characteristics set by the organization.

Collective trademarks are exceptions to the underlying principle of trademarks in that most trademarks serve as "badges of origin"; they indicate the individual source of the goods or services. A collective trademark, however, can be used by a variety of traders, rather than just one individual concern, provided that the trader belongs to the association.

Collective trademarks differ from certification marks. The main difference is that collective trademarks may be used by particular members of the organization which owns them, while certification marks may be used by anybody who complies with the standards defined by the owner of the particular certification mark.

Regulations on use[edit]

National trademark laws in some countries (such as Finland, Germany, Hungary and Switzerland) provide for the filing of the regulations as an additional requirement for registration of the collective trademark.

The regulations shall normally specify:

  • the name and seat of the organization,
  • information on the members authorized to use the collective trademark, including their names, addresses and seats,
  • the conditions of membership,
  • the conditions of use of the collective trademark,
  • the prescriptions relating to the control of the use of the collective trademark,
  • the order of proceedings against unauthorized use of the collective trademark.

The main purpose of the regulations is to protect consumers against misleading practices.

International treaties[edit]

Many jurisdictions have been required to amend their trademark legislation in order to accommodate the requirement of protection of collective marks under TRIPs. Art. 7 bis of the Paris Convention also requires signatories "to accept for filing and to protect collective marks belonging to associations the existence of which is not contrary to the law of the country of origin, even if such organizations do not possess an industrial or commercial establishment."

Examples[edit]

Examples of collective trademarks include:

Related cases[edit]

  • The Parma Ham case [1991] RPC 251, in which the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma sued for passing off their unregistered collective mark;
  • Association of Certified Public Accountants v. Trade Secretary [1998] 1 WLR 164.

See also[edit]