Certification and Collective Marks
As well as individual marks, there are two other kinds of trade marks that can be registered at EUIPO – certification marks and collective marks. This page gives you information on both kinds of marks, as well as resources to help you when applying for them.
The EU collective mark indicates that the goods or services protected by that mark originate from members of an association, and may only be used by them.
The EU certification mark, however, is an indication that the goods or services meet certain characteristics, as defined in the regulations of use
EU certification marks are a new kind of trade mark in the EUTM system. They are signs which seek to certify certain characteristics of the goods and services (for example, their quality), and it became possible to apply for them as of 1 October 2017.
The EU trade mark Regulation defines an EU certification mark as a mark that is ‘capable of distinguishing goods or services which are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics, with the exception of geographical origin, from goods and services which are not so certified.’ (Article 83(1) EUTMR).
Individual and certification EU trade marks differ in their function, but also in some more formal aspects. One important difference between an individual mark and a certification mark is that the owner of a certification mark (a natural or legal person, an institution, or authorities and bodies governed by public law) cannot run a business involving the supply of the goods and services of the kind certified.
EU certification marks: duty of neutrality
If you own an EU certification mark, you can certify the goods and services that others will use in their business, but you can’t certify your own goods and services and use it yourself. The owner of the EU certification mark has a duty of neutrality in relation to the interests of the producers of the goods or the suppliers of the services it certifies.
EU certification marks: geographical origin excluded
Very importantly, an EU certification mark cannot be used to certify the geographical origin of goods and services. The sign, the regulations governing use and the list of goods and services are covered by this prohibition.
In essence, an EU certification mark relates to the guarantee of specific characteristics of certain goods and services. There are four things to remember when applying for an EU certification mark:
- Like an individual mark, an EU certification mark must be a sign capable of being represented on the Register of EU trade marks. In addition, that sign should be able to distinguish the goods and services that are certified from others that are not so certified.
- When you apply for an EU certification mark, you must state very clearly that you are doing so (through a clear indication of the kind of mark in the application).
- You have to apply for your EU certification mark in respect of the goods and services that will be certified by you as the owner of the mark (you can use the Goods and Services Builder to help you).
- You need to include the regulations governing use of the EU certification mark for which you are applying. The regulations governing use are the essence of the EU certification mark. They have to be filed within two months of the application and need to contain, in particular:
- the declaration by the applicant that it does not carry on a business involving the supply of goods or services of the kind certified;
- the characteristics of the goods or services to be certified;
- the conditions governing the use of the EU certification mark;
- the testing and supervision measures to be applied by you as the EU certification mark owner.
To help users, the EUIPO has prepared a template, which is available below in 23 languages, to guide EU certification mark applicants through the process of drafting the regulations governing use.
Regulations of use template: EU Certification marks
Examples of certification marks registered at EUIPO:
Trade mark without text
Prüfgemeinschaft Mauerbohrer e. V.
Sierteelt Verpakkings Pool C.V.
VERIFIED by SafeShops.be
Classes: 3, 29, 30 , 31, 32, 33
ASOCIACIÓN VALOR ECOLOGICO, CAAE
The basic application fees for an EU certification mark are EUR 1 800, or EUR 1 500 if applied for online.
The EU collective mark indicates the commercial origin of certain goods and services by informing the consumer that the producer of the goods or the service provider belongs to a certain association and that it has the right to use the mark.
The EU trade mark Regulation defines a collective mark as a mark that is ‘capable of distinguishing the goods or services of the members of the association which is the proprietor of the mark from those of other undertakings.’ (Article 74 EUTMR).
EU collective marks can be used to build consumer confidence in the products or services offered under the collective mark. They are often used to identify products or services of producers that have similar interests.
EU Collective marks: who can apply
Only associations of manufacturers, producers, suppliers of services or traders, as well as legal persons governed by public law (provided that they have a similar organisation to that of associations), may apply for EU collective marks.
EU Collective marks: geographical origin
It is possible to register an EU collective mark which designates the geographical origin of the goods or services it covers. The regulations governing use must then explicitly authorise anyone whose goods and services originate in the geographical area in question to become a member of the association that owns the mark (Article 75(2) EUTMR).
The regulations governing use form an integral part of any collective mark. They have to be filed within two months of the application:
- They should specify the persons authorised to use the mark and the conditions for membership of the association. They can also include the conditions of use of the mark.
- If the collective mark describes the geographical indication of the goods and services it covers, the regulations governing use must contain the specific authorisation for anyone whose goods and services originate in the geographical area in question to become a member of the association that owns the mark.
To help users, EUIPO has prepared a template, which is available below in 23 languages, to guide collective mark applicants through the process of drafting the regulations governing use
Regulations of use template: EU collective marks
Examples of collective marks registered at EUIPO:
Examples of collective marks registered at EUIPO:
AZAFRAN DE LA MANCHA CONSEJO REGULADOR DOP AZAFRAN DE LA MANCHA
FUNDACION ‘CONSEJO REGULADOR DE LA DENOMINACION DE ORIGEN AZAFRAN DE LA MANCHA’
FLOWERS OF COLOMBIA
Asociación Colombiana De Exportadores De Flores ASOCOLFLORES
Class: 41 and 45
Cicero League of International Lawyers
Full Member NB Rail ASSOCIATION
The basic application fees for an EU collective mark are EUR 1 800, or EUR 1 500 if applied for online.