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  • Writer's pictureTodd

What are certification and collective membership trademarks?

A certification mark is one owned by a non-profit cooperative or association that certifies certain standards and quality.

Class A is for certification marks for goods.

A common example for goods is UL certified. This organization, founded in 1894, sets safety and sustainability standards for products, and tests the products to make sure they are compliant. For example, you may see this certification on electric cords or household appliances.

You may also have seen this Energy Star logo on your TV or computer monitor, for example. This certifies that the product meets certain energy and efficiency criteria according to the Environmental Protection Agency or U.S. Department of Energy.

It seems that anything can call itself organic these days, but to use the USDA Organic logo, you have to meet strict standards related to growing, processing, and handling farm products.

Class B is for certification marks for services.

If you like to go to movie theaters like I do, and you get there before the movie starts, you’re familiar with this screen that is a registered trademark in Class B:

Another example of a certification mark in Class B is for AAA Approved automobile repair services.

There are also collective membership marks. Class 200 is for collective membership marks. You may be surprised to learn that REALTOR® is a registered trademark in several classes. This specific logo is a registered trademark in class 200 for collective membership in the National Association of Realtors.

To discuss ways to protect certification marks and collective membership marks, talk to a trademark lawyer.

Please note that the information contained in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and not as specific legal advice. The facts of your situation may differ from this general information. It is not intended to and does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship.

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