Certification Marks: How to Get One for Your Products?


Let us imagine a situation. You go to a grocery store to buy a bottle of jam. The store has 2 brands of jam as options. One of them has normal branding, nothing striking. And the other one has a nice aesthetic branding and a certification trademark. The packaging shows the certification mark and guarantees your mind that this product is certified by a governmental body and thus safe to use. So, the assurance that comes with a certification mark affects the consumer psychology in favor of products with the certification.

As a consumer, which brand of jam are you going to buy? 95% of the people go for the one that guarantees them the quality.

That is where certification marks and their significance comes into play.

An Introduction to Certification Trademarks

“A certification mark is a specific mark on product distinguishing the nature and origin of goods and services and assuring that manufacture has tested and validated the products. It also signifies that the product or services meet the given quality standard.”

Most of the products like fruits, gold, cookware, etc., that we buy daily have a certification mark that guarantees the product quality. Some examples of famous certification marks are BIS Hallmark, FPO mark, ISI mark, etc.

Also Read: The Top 10 Most Valuable Brands in 2022

What Is A Certification Trademark?

The certification marks certify the nature and origin of the goods and services to which it has been applied. It includes region or location, materials used, mode of manufacture, or product quality.

Certification marks help the company show its consumers that its product is of high quality. It also proves that the products comply with the standard terms and regulations and possess the required documentation. The party or proprietor of the certification mark must also be competent to certify the quality of the product. A certification mark does not distinguish between products like general trademarks do.

Certification marks may also indicate the following:

  • Geographic Origin
  • Products meeting the standard quality
  • Manufacturing of the products as per established criteria

Some famous examples of certification marks are: 

 Example of Certification Trademark  The Area of Applicability
ISI Trademark    Recognized mark for standard industrial products in India  
FPO (Farmer Producer Organization) Trademark  Mandatory for all processed fruit packages such as fruit beverages, fruit extracts, etc., sold in India  
  AG MarkRecognized mark for indicating the quality of agricultural products.  
Certification Mark Examples

Categories of Certification Marks

Certification marks fall under 3 categories as mentioned below:

  1. Geographic origin
  2. The character of the goods and services
  3. Work or labour group shows the products are being manufactured by a group of people or some organization.

The California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) is a great example of a certification mark.

What Is The Purpose of a Certification Trademark?

The purpose of a certification trademark is to indicate the below characteristics of the product:

  • Accuracy
  • Purity and Safety
  • Mode of manufacturing
  • Location or origin of the products
  • Materials used in its manufacturing or production

Does My Brand Need A Certification Trademark?

Yes, If you want to:

  • Build a positive image of your products in consumers’ mind
  • Establish the quality of your products and brand’s reputation in the market
  • Make more and more people believe in your products and buy it

Get a certification mark now if you want all these things to get true for your products.

All consumers want to buy products that have a guarantee of quality. As a result, the demand and tendency to buy products with certification trademarks are quite high. This is why more and more brands and companies are tilting towards getting certification marks. Different government bodies for different products issue other certification marks.

Are You Doing Any of These 5 Mistakes? Avoid Them Or You Will Lose Your Trademark

What Are Some Famous Examples of Certification marks?

BIS Hallmark
  1. Issued by the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), the national standard organization of India
  2. Hallmark for certifying the purity and standards of precious metals like gold and silver metals and their jewellery.
  3. India is the 2nd biggest market for gold and jewellery, so gold sold to consumers must have a verified mark.
AG Mark
  1. Issued by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection of the Government of India
  2. Applies to all agricultural products
  3. Legally enforced in India by the Agricultural Produce Act of 1937 (amended in 1986)
  4. Fully state-owned employed by AGMark laboratories located throughout the nation and act as testing and certifying centers in India
  5. It is an advisory certification mark effective in India that provides an inspection seal for only assuring agricultural products’ quality.
FPO Mark
  1. The Ministry of Food Processing issues an FPO mark for all processed fruit packages sold in India.
  2. It was legally enforced in India in 1955
  3. The FPO mark guarantees that the product was manufactured in a safe and hygienic environment, ensuring it is fit for consumption.
Non-Polluting Vehicle Mark
  1. It is a statutory certification mark mandatory for all new motor vehicles sold in India.
  2. The certificate of Non-Polluting Vehicle Mark is valid for one year only.
  3. It ensured that related vehicles meet the standards set by Bharat Stage Emission.
EcoMark
  1. Eco mark has been issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) since 1991
  2. A mandatory mark for all eco-friendly products assures that the product follows a set of standards to minimize its adverse impacts on the ecosystem.
India Organic Mark
  1. India Organic Mark is issued by APEDA exclusively for the organic category of agricultural and processed food products.
  2. It ensured that all the food products having this certification mark are purely organic with no chemicals or fertilizers used during the farming.
ISI Mark
  1. Standard compliance marks for industrial products in India.
  2. ISI mark has been effective since 1955 and issued by BIS, the national standards body.
  3. ISI mark ensures that the products having the ISI mark confirm the Indian standards set by the BIS.
  4. It is mandatory for 90 products and advisory for others.

How Can I Register A Certification Mark in India?

Certification marks in India can be registered by the owner but can be used by others. For a certification mark to be valid, an owner must not use it with their goods and services but authorize others to use it.

The Procedure for registration of certification mark is as follows:

  • The proprietor of the trademark applies for registration of the certificate to the Registrar.
  • It must be accompanied by the draft of regulations for governing and authorizing the use of certification marks.

The draft of the regulations must include the following

  • Description of the applicants
  • Nature of applicant’s business
  • Infrastructure and the details of its financial arrangements
  • Company’s dispute resolution mechanism
  • The list of people who will be authorized to use the mark
  • Also, provide the undertaking that no discrimination will occur, and the company will monitor the use of certification marks.
  • Then the application is examined for checking its competency to certify whether the products meet the standards set by the authorized governing body.
  • Registrar will then publish the applications inviting the oppositions for the same, and after that, registration of certification mark will be decided after hearing both the parties.

Statement of case on the grounds supporting the application is also submitted along with the application. Regulations governing the use of the certification mark must be submitted to the Trade Marks Registry.

Fair Use of Trademark? How to Prove?

Cancellation of the Application for Certificate Mark Registration

You can cancel the application for registration of certification through an application to the Registrar by an aggrieved person (a chance to oppose is given to the proprietor) in following cases

  • If the applicant products fail to meet the standards set by the authorized government body.
  • If the proprietor is not following the provisions provided in the Registrar
  • When the mark is no longer in favor of public advantage

Suppose the proprietor wishes to cancel or make any changes to the registration of the certification trademark. In that case, you need to file an application to Registrar by filling out the prescribed TM-O form. These alterations are then published in the Trademark Journal by the Registrar.

Suppose the proprietor wishes to transfer or assign the certification mark to another person. In that case, an application under form TM-P shall be made to obtain the consent of the Registrar.

What is TM-A, TM-M, TM-O, and TM-P?

Form NumberPurposeForm Fee
TM-A  Filled for filing application for registration of certificate mark  For Small Businesses & Startups E-Filing: INR 4,500Physical Filing-INR 5,000 For Other businesses E-Filing: INR 9,000Physical Filing-INR 10,000  
TM-MFilled for filing application for alteration in the Trademark Registration Certificate, time extension, requesting duplicate certificate, details of advertisement to registrar, etc.TM-M Form Fee For E-Filing: INR 1,500 For Physical Filing: INR 2,000
TM-OFilled for requesting cancellation of trademark registration certificate due to opposition notice  application for rectifying the register Application under GI Tags Act, 1999TM-O Form Fee For E-Filing: INR 2,700 For Physical Filing: INR 3,000
*NOTE: Fee is calculated individually for every class opposed. For e.g., if the opposition or counterstatement is filed for 3 classes, you will have to pay 2,700X3= 8,100 (e-filing)
TM-PForm for requesting consent of registrar for trademark transfer or assignmentTM-P Form Fee For E-Filing: INR 10,000 For Physical Filing: INR 9,000  
TM-A, TM-M, TM-O, TM-P

FAQs

Is Khadi a Certification Mark in India?

No, Khadi is not a certification mark in India, and this is because Khadi is a trademark registered by KVIC. Under Khadi mark Regulations, 2013, the Indian government has exempted the certified khadi authorities from certification.  

The Government of India wants to promote Khadi as an Indian brand due to its legacy. KVIC has filed applications for the Khadi mark logo of “Charkha” for registration as a certification mark to prevent the Khadi brand’s misuse by the products it is not associated with.

Recently, Khadi has secured trademark registration in Bhutan, UAE, and Mexico to protect the identification of the brand “Khadi” globally. KVIC has registered new trademarks for its most commonly used symbols to protect against the misuse of the Khadi India brand name by vendors of meat and alcohol. The decision to register the Khadi trademark under three trademark classes, 20, 29, and 33, was mainly to prevent unauthorized use of the trademark by 3rd party which harms the Khadi brand name.

Is Certification Mark A Trademark?

No, the trademark and certification marks are different and serve different purposes.

Difference Between Trademark and Certification Mark

TrademarkCertification Mark
Usage and Assignment Trademarks can be used by the owner and also assigned to other parties.Usage and Assignment A certification mark is not used by its owner. Owner just maintains the control over the usage of the mark by other parties.
Function of Trademarks A trademark distinguishes between the products or services from different brands.Function of Certification Mark A certification mark does not distinguish between the products and services from differnet brands. 2 brands can use the same certification mark. The only aim of a certification mark is to assure the quality.
Indication A Trademark indicates the origin of the goods and services.Indication A certification mark does not indicate the origin of the goods and services.
Owner Control on the Usage As the owner can assign the trademark to anyone they wish, they can’t be attacked for discrimination. Thus, trademarks give high control over usage of the trademark.Owner Control on the Usage The control on the certification mark’s usage is comparatively less due to the no-discrimination undertaking.
Impact on Consumer Psychology A trademark gives no guarantee about the purity and quality of the product to consumer.Impact on Consumer Psychology A certification mark directly affects the consumer psychology by ensuring them that the product is of top-notch quality.
Geographic Details A trademark doesn’t usually give geographic details.Geographic Details A certification mark can provide geographic details.
Difference Between Trademark and Certification Mark

In the USA, the trademark identifies the source and origin of the goods and services. However, the certification mark is still regulated like a trademark falls under the protection of the Lanham Act.

*Note- A certification mark can’t be trademarked and vice-versa, as per section 15 in the Trademark act. This is because it can confuse the consumers regarding the mark.

In order to ease the confusion, Standard Government bodies have made some criteria for certification marks.

As per the Lanham Act, the requirement for certification marks is as below:

  • Standards
  • Exclusivity of use
  • Objectivity
  • Non-discrimination
  • An example of a famous trademark is Coca-Cola, which indicates the brand provides cold drinks.
  • A famous example of a certification mark is the EnergyStar logo on appliances that states that the product meets the established standards.

How Do I Download A Trademark Certificate Online?

You can download a Trademark registration certificate from the E-Register page.

  • Follow the below steps to download the trademark registration certificate:
  • Open the E-Register main page, enter the correct application number of the trademark. Now enter the code shown in the image,
  • The trademark application will open, and the status is changed to Registered. Once the status is reflected as registered, scroll down to the end where all the documents are uploaded, and one of them will show as the certificate. Click on it to download the trademark registration certificate.
  • The certificate downloaded from the online trademark site is not for legal use and can’t be presented in court as evidence. One needs to obtain a certified copy of the trademark registration certificate for such use.
  • A certified copy of the trademark registration certificate can be obtained by any person submitting the application to the Trademark Registry on the payment of the prescribed fee.

Steps to get a certified copy of the Trademark Registration Certificate is as follows:

  • File an online application to the Trademark Registry in TM-M form to get a certified copy of the Trademark Registration Certificate.
  • Once can download a TM-M form from the site https://ipindia.gov.in
  • The form must be submitted with the prescribed fees of around 1000 INR.

Want Your Own Certification Mark? Let Customers Believe in Your Product’s Quality.

While getting a certification mark is a brilliant option to establish the quality of your products, the process to get a mark is quite tough. It is best to seek professional help to sail you through obtaining a certification mark.

And here we are, TMReady; we have been providing intellectual property services for years. Our years of experience and professional expertise can be accessed at reasonable prices. So, are you ready to take your brand to the next level of success with TMReady? Visit us here to know more about our services.

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