One Federal Court decision clarifies what is considered as “authorised use” of a trade mark wherein the trade mark user is not the trade mark owner but a subsidiary of the owner’s company.
Certification Trade Marks
Certification trade marks are applied for goods and services that meet a certain standard. Examples of such standards or characteristic include:
- A specific standard of quality to which the goods or services are adhering to;
- A specific composition that the goods possess;
- A manufacturing method that the goods underwent; or
- A geographical origin from which the goods come from.
Notably, a certification trade mark is ideal for protecting geographical indications. One such example is Scotch Whiskey.
Who can use a certification trade mark?
A certification trade mark can be used by different traders on their goods and services.
How do you apply for a certification trade mark?
Applying for a certification trade mark follows the same process as applying for a regular trade mark. The only difference is that a copy of the certification trade mark’s set of rules is provided by the applicant within the application process. The set of rules ensures that the standard or characteristic is always satisfied by the product or service.
The applicant of the certification trade mark is responsible for ensuring that the goods or services adhere to the set of rules provided by the applicant. The application and the rules will be approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
What are certification rules?
At a minimum, the certification rules that the applicant needs to submit must:
- Define the standard or characteristic that the goods or services adheres to;
- Define a way for the applicant to know when the goods or services are not adhering to the specified standard or characteristic;
- Define the qualifications of the person certifying the compliance of the goods and services to the standard or characteristic;
- Define the conditions that the owner or qualified user of the trade mark must comply with before using the trade mark; or
- Define the steps taken for resolving conflicts regarding compliance or non-compliance with the standard or characteristic.
Examples of Certification trade marks
The Australian Carpet Trade Mark (309403)
The Australian Carpet trade mark is applied to carpets that have been classified under the technical guidelines of the Australian Carpet Classification Scheme.These guidelines include:
- Residential Light Duty (1 star rating),
- Residential Medium Duty (2 star rating),
- Residential Heavy Duty (lower to mid range) (3 star rating),
- Residential Heavy Duty (mid to higher range) (4 star rating),
- Residential Heavy Extra Duty (lower to mid range) (5 star rating),
- Residential Heavy Extra Duty (mid to higher range) (6 star rating),
- Contract Light Duty (1 star rating),
- Contract Medium Duty (2 star rating),
- Contract Heavy Duty (3 star rating), and
- Contract Extra Heavy Duty.
The environmental certifications include:
- ECS Level 1 (entry level certification),
- ECS Level 2,
- ECS Level 3, and
- ECS Level 4 (with 2 options).
The Mohair Trade Mark (315261)
The Mohair Trade Mark was established by the International Mohair Association Limited to certify products that are of no less than 25% Mohair by weight, having come from the Angora goat. The Mohair Trade Mark can be applied to the following categories:
- Textile piece goods,
- Textile articles,
- Upholstery fabrics,
- Articles of clothing, and
- Rugs and other floor coverings.