TMEP 1306.05(b)(i): Certification Statement

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1306.05(b)(i)    Certification Statement

Indicating the Region

When a geographic term is being used as a certification mark to indicate regional origin, the application must define the regional origin that the mark certifies. The identified region might be as large as a country or as small as a village, and an applicant may define it in general terms in the certification statement (e.g., “the Darjeeling region in India” or “the community of Roquefort, Department of Aveyron, France”). The certification standards, however, will usually be more specific as to the particular geographic boundaries involved.

If the available evidence indicates that the region identified by a geographic designation in the mark is well known for the identified goods or services, or that the goods or services are principal products of the region, the certification statement must limit the defined region to the region identified by the designation in the mark. When the certification statement is not appropriately limited in these instances, it is possible that the mark will be applied to goods or services that do not originate in the region named in the mark. Thus, the mark is geographically deceptive as to those goods or services and must be refused accordingly. See TMEP §1306.05(e). The applicant may overcome the refusal by amending the certification statement to limit the defined region to the region identified by the geographic designation in the mark.

If there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the region identified in the mark is known for the goods or services, or that the goods or services are principal products of the region, the region defined in the certification statement may be broader than the region named in the mark. However, the region named in the mark must still be encompassed by the larger region specified in the certification statement.

Other Characteristics

The certification statement must be sufficiently detailed to give proper notice of what is being certified, which may include other characteristics in addition to geographic origin. See TMEP §1306.03(a). For example, the registration for ROQUEFORT indicates the mark certifies that the cheese to which it is applied “has been manufactured from sheep’s milk only, and has been cured in the natural caves of the community of Roquefort, Department of Aveyron, France.”

Form of Certification Statement

The certification statement must start with the following wording or the equivalent: “The certification mark, as used or intended to be used by persons authorized by the certifier, certifies or is intended to certify that the goods/services provided have....” See TMEP §1306.03(a). The following are examples of acceptable certification statements for geographic certification marks:

The certification mark, as used or intended to be used by persons authorized by the certifier, certifies or is intended to certify the regional origin of potatoes grown in the State of Idaho and certifies that those potatoes conform to grade, size, weight, color, shape, cleanliness, variety, internal defect, external defect, maturity and residue level standards promulgated by the certifier.

The certification mark, as used or intended to be used by persons authorized by the certifier, certifies or is intended to certify that the cheese on which the mark is used has been made entirely in the State of California with cow's milk produced entirely within the State of California.

The certification mark, as used or intended to be used by persons authorized by the certifier, certifies or is intended to certify that the agricultural products are aquacultural seafood products from the waters in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast that are determined to be safe from oil.

See TMEP §1306.03(a) for information regarding certification statements in general.