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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


This chapter investigates the legal and commercial significance of certification and collective marks, both of which serve as something other than an indication of the individual source of the product. Certification marks are used to certify conformity of one or more product characteristics to particular standards. Where quality is to be certified, certification marks indicate attainment of a minimum quality level; they do not by themselves facilitate differentiation between superior and inferior goods or services from different sources. The statutory object of a collective mark is to attest to membership of the individual source of the goods or services in an association, which owns the mark. Unlike certification marks, which generally are available for use on all products meeting the standard, use of a collective mark on products is confined to the products of the association’s members. Key words: certification mark; collective mark; geographical indication

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