Expert Advice

Certification trade marks

B2B Editor1 March 2015

Certification trade marks are marks that indicate a certain good or service meets a particular standard. The certification mark might indicate features like:

* The quality of the goods;

* The type of material the goods are made from;

* The geographic origin of the goods;

* The purpose of a particular good or service.

Usually certification trade marks are logos that can be applied to goods or services that meet its guidelines. Well known examples include the Heart Foundation tick on foods meeting certain nutritional guidelines, the Australian Made logo for goods meeting those particular guidelines or the WiFi Zone logo for public places with certain types of WiFi access.

Since certification marks do not give exclusive property rights to an individual trader, they are often used by representative bodies or industry groups who want to regulate a particular quality scheme.

The guidelines outlining the use of a particular certification trade mark must be publically accessible, and any good or service meeting those requirements must be permitted to use the mark. Usually companies owning a certification trade mark will require some form of licence fee be paid for use of that particular mark.

How do certification trade marks differ from regular marks?

The purpose of a regular trade mark is to serve as a “badge of origin” and indicate the trade source of those particular goods or services. Certification trade marks are different. They do not denote a trade origin, but a particular feature or quality of a good or service.

Unlike a regular trade mark, certification marks must be lodged with a set of rules governing the certification process. These rules must be assessed and approved by the ACCC before the certification mark can be accepted for registration. These rules must include:

* The standards that must be met;

* How it will be decided whether these standards are met;

* Who can assess these standards;

* A dispute resolution procedure.

What are the benefits of registering a Certification Trade Mark?

A registered certification trade mark brings with it the benefit of legitimacy. All certification trade marks have been approved by the ACCC,and consumers can be sure the mark is being applied fairly and in line with stringent quality standards. Additionally, for some organisations, certification trade marks can become a valuable source of income via
licence fees.

How can we help?

Our trade mark attorneys and lawyers have extensive experience in all aspects associated with the Certification Trade Mark process, from filing applications, drafting rules governing use of the mark, and commercialising the certification trade marks through suitable licensing arrangements.

Visit or contact us at W:
T: 02 6162 1639 or 1800 705 680