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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 indicates the existence of an accepted product standard or regulation and a claim that the manufacturer has verified compliance with those standards or regulations. The specific specification, test methods, and frequency of testing are published by the standards organization. Certification listing does not necessarily guarantee fitness for use.

Contents

Certification marks distinguished from other marksEdit

Certification marks differ from collective trade marks. Collective trade marks may be used by particular members of the organization that owns them, while certification marks are the only evidence of the existence of follow-up agreements between manufacturers and nationally accredited testing and certification organizations. In some occasions, the certification organization will charge for the use of their labels and will require that the manufacturer reports the exact production quantities.[citation needed] In this case, the certification organization 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 not true. Organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories, TUV Rheinland, NTA Inc, and CSA International will test the products according to standard procedures, and "list" them as compliant to that standard. They do not approve anything except the use of the mark to show that a product has been certified for compliance with such specific standard. 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 trademark owners is to register the mark as an ordinary trademark 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.

RegulationsEdit

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

  • People authorized to use the certification mark
  • Characteristics that the certification mark certifies
  • How the certification or standards tests these characteristics and supervises use of the mark
  • What the dispute resolution procedures are

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

ExamplesEdit

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[4] operates the Certification Program internationally.
  • 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
  China
Eurasian Customs Union
  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 marksEdit

Many jurisdictions have been required to amend their trade mark legislation to accommodate 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.[6]

CasesEdit

Cases involving certification marks include:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ "Allergy Standards". allergystandards.com Allergy Standards.
  5. ^ "Allergy Standards". allergystandards.com Allergy Standards.
  6. ^ “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 linksEdit