TMEP 1306.01(b): Purpose Is to Certify, Not to Indicate Source

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

Previous: §1306.01(a) | Next: §1306.01(c)

1306.01(b)    Purpose Is to Certify, Not to Indicate Source

A certification mark "is a special creature created for a purpose uniquely different from that of an ordinary service mark or trademark...." In re Fla. Citrus Comm’n, 160 USPQ 495, 499 (TTAB 1968). That is, the purpose of a certification mark is to inform purchasers that the goods or services of a person possess certain characteristics or meet certain qualifications or standards established by another person. A certification mark does not indicate origin in a single commercial or proprietary source the way a trademark or service mark does.  Rather, the same certification mark is used on the goods or services of many different producers.

The message conveyed by a certification mark is that the goods or services have been examined, tested, inspected, or in some way checked by a person who is not their producer, using methods determined by the certifier/owner.  The placing of the mark on goods, or its use in connection with services, thus constitutes a certification by someone other than the producer that the prescribed characteristics or qualifications of the certifier for those goods or services have been met.