Certification mark

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Canadian certification label on a bag of rockwool
Counterfeit electrical cords with false UL certification marks

A certification mark (or conformity mark) on a commercial product often indicates the existence of an accepted product standard or regulation and a claim that the manufacturer has tested or verified the product to certify compliance with that standard or regulation. The specific specification, test methods, and frequency of testing are published by the standards organization. Certification listing does not necessarily guarantee fitness for use.

Certification marks distinguished from other marks[edit]

Certification marks differ from collective trade marks. The main difference is that collective trade marks may be used by particular members of the organization which owns them, while certification marks are the only evidence of the existence of follow-up agreements between manufacturers and nationally accredited testing and certification organisations.[citation needed] Certification organizations charge for the use of their labels and are thus always aware of exact production numbers.[citation needed] In this way, certification organisations can be seen to earn a commission from sales of products under their follow-up regimes. In return, the use of the certification marks enables the product sales in the first place.

Certification is often mistakenly referred to as an "approval", which is often not true. Organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories, NTA Inc, and CSA International for instance, only "list", they do not approve anything except the use of the mark to show that a product has been certified. Thus, for instance a product certification mark for a fire door or for a spray fireproofing product, does not signify its universal acceptance for use within a building. Approvals are up to the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), such as a municipal building inspector or fire prevention officer. Conversely, FM Global does use the term "Approvals" for its certification listings, which are intended for use of the products within buildings that are insured by FM Global. The German accreditor Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt)[1] issues "Approvals" for systems. All of these listed products must conform to listing and approval use and compliance.

For various reasons, usually relating to technical issues, certification marks are difficult to register, especially in relation to services. One practical workaround for trade mark owners is to register the mark as an ordinary trade mark in relation to quality control and similar services.

Certification marks can be owned by independent companies absolutely unrelated in ownership to the companies, offering goods or rendering services under the particular certification mark.

Regulations concerning the use of certification marks[edit]

Trademark laws in countries, such as the United States,[2] Australia[3] and others which provide for the filing of applications to register certificate marks also usually require the submission of regulations[citation needed] which set out a number of matters,[citation needed] including:

  • the people authorized to use the certification mark
  • the characteristics to be certified by the certification mark
  • how the certifying or standards tests these characteristics and supervises the use of the mark
  • dispute resolution procedures

The main purpose of the regulations is to protect consumers against misleading practices.[citation needed]

Some examples[edit]

Primary jurisdiction Body/mark Image
International
  • The Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Mark allows consumers to identify products that have been put through and passed standardised testing that is relevant for those suffering from asthma and allergies. Allergy Standards Limited operates the Certification Program in America, Canada, Ireland and the UK.
  • International Fairtrade Certification Mark
  • The Bureau Veritas certification mark, used to indicate, for example, sea-worthiness of ships.
  • The SGS Product Safety Mark is used to prove that the product fulfills all relevant product safety requirements applicable in the destination market.
 Australia

 New Zealand

 Canada
 Europe
  • The CE mark meaning "European Conformity", formerly EC mark is a mandatory conformity mark for products placed on the market in the European Economic Area (EEA). With the CE marking on a product the manufacturer ensures that the product conforms with the essential requirements of the applicable EC directives.
 France
 Germany
 India
 Japan
 Mexico
  • The NOM logo serves a similar purpose for products on the market in Mexico.
 Norway
  • Norges Elektriske Materiellkontroll (NEMKO), Norway NEMKO
 CIS
 Sweden
  • Electrical Testing Laboratory, Sweden ETL SEMKO
 Taiwan
 Ukraine
 United Kingdom
  • Kite Mark is a British Standard under BSI Group.
  • The LPCB (Loss Prevention Certification Board) mark by BRE Global (part of the Building Research Establishment group) independently certificates fire and security products, which are then listed in the Red Book.
 United States

International treaties and certification marks[edit]

Many jurisdictions have been required to amend their trade mark legislation in order to accommodate the requirement of protection of certification marks under the TRIPs treaty.

Some jurisdictions recognise certification marks from other jurisdictions. This means good manufactured in one country may need not go through certification in another. One example is the European Union recognition of Australia and New Zealand marks based on an International treaty.[4]

Cases[edit]

Cases involving certification marks include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "DIBt - Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik". 
  2. ^ "Submission of the United States of America Certification and Collective Marks Formalities" (PDF). World Intellectual Property Organisation. February 2009. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Certification trade marks". Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Retrieved June 13, 2017. 
  4. ^ “Agreement on Mutual Recognition in relation to Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings between Australia and the European Community ATS 2 of 1999“. Australasian Legal Information Institute, Australian Treaties Library. Retrieved on 15 April 2017.

External links[edit]