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Certification and Collective Marks

Law and Practice

Jeffrey Belson

Certification and Collective Marks is a thoroughly updated and augmented edition of Certification Marks, first published in 2002. This comprehensive study forms a wide-ranging inquiry, with comparisons of the certification and collective mark systems of the UK, EU and US, whilst also referring to other systems. In addition to the laws and policies impacting ownership and use of these marks, also addressed are their historical development, registration and protection, certifiers’ liability, legal and commercial significance, use in regulatory and technical standardization frameworks, and emergent sui generis forms of certification, namely ecolabels and electronic authentication marks in digital content. This publication is especially timely in light of the advent of the EU certification mark and the controversial EU proposals to extend the Geographical Indications system to include non-agri-food products.
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Jeffrey Belson


In this chapter particular attention is paid to statutory schemes for the registration and protection of certification marks, collective marks, and EU sui generis Geographical Indications. The functions of these marks and indications are discussed in light of the laws and treaties upon which their protection is based. Certification marks are recognized and registrable in the trademark systems of the Anglo-American law countries and the European Union (from 1 October, 2017, except for designations of geographical origin) and many other jurisdictions. Collective marks are provided for in most, but not all, jurisdictions. Indications of geographical provenance, traditionally protected by certification and collective marks, are protected increasingly as Geographical Indications, now widely accepted as a sui generis intellectual property right. The traditional dominance of trademark law in the protection of geographical indications will be challenged further as the EU prepares to extend its sui generis system beyond agricultural products and foodstuffs. Key words: certification mark; collective mark; geographical indication

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