What Is a Certification Trademark?


Certification Trademarks: Licensed to Use

Trademarks, whether a business name or logo, are generally owned and used by the party selling the product or service that the trademark identifies to consumers.

Thus, the cursive “Coca Cola” lettering/logo is owned by the Coca Cola Corporation and identifies to consumers that cans and bottles bearing that logo were produced and are being sold by the Coca Cola Corporation. 

certification trademark is a different sort of trademark registration. 

A certification trademark is a mark owned by one party but used by third parties whose product or service meets the certification requirements of the owning party. 

In other words, a certification mark offers to the public an assurance that your product or service meets a certain established standard. 

For example, the familiar blue Energystar logo is a certification mark demonstrating that the appliance it is attached to has met EPA standards for energy efficiency. 

The “standard” that a certification mark demonstrates can be a standard of quality—but it can also demonstrate geographic sourcing, that the work is performed by the member of a union or professional organization, 

How Is a Certification Mark Obtained? 

As with any Federally registered trademark, to obtain and “create” a certification mark, an application must be filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

In addition to meeting the usual requirements for a Federal trademark registration, an application for a certification mark carries additional requirements

  1. The application must include the specific standards by which a third party may come to use the certification trademark in commerce; 
  2. The owner of the certification mark cannot itself manufacture or sell the goods or services with which the mark is utilized in commerce; 
  3. The mark cannot be used for any purpose other than certification; 
  4. The owner must apply the standards for use to third parties fairly and objectively; discrimination is not allowed

The Specimen filed with the certification trademark application must show how a party other than the applicant uses the mark in interstate commerce. 

Certification Trademarks: The Bottom Line

The bottom line with regard to the registration of a certification trademark is that it is crucial to retain a knowledgeable attorney to assist you with your application. A licensed attorney will provide you a measure of comfort in knowing that details such as these will be properly handled and will not upend your chances of a successful registration. 

Noble Path Trademark Law is a boutique US law practice located in Metro Detroit and assisting enterprises in every industry with trademark registration, trademark renewal, trademark monitoring, and Office Action refusal response matters.

We offer virtual consultations, premium customer service, and the expertise you need to maximize your odds of trademark registration success.

Click the “Register Your Trademark” button below to schedule your initial consultation and to begin your brand protection journey.