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29 September 2017
Under the UK Trade Marks Act 1994, a certification mark is defined in Section 50(1) as:
“a mark indicating that the goods or services in connection with which it is used are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics.”
Certification marks are therefore distinguished from traditional trade marks in that they are intended to guarantee the quality or standard of goods or services.
Whilst certification marks have existed in the UK for some time, they have only recently been introduced at EU level following amendments to Regulation No. 207/2009 by Regulation (EU) 2015/2424 (‘the Amending Regulation’). Despite the Amending Regulation having come into force on 23 March 2016, the secondary regulation required to implement the changes only came into force this year. Pursuant to Section 2, Articles 74a to 74k of the Amending Regulation, certification marks will be available at EU level from 1 October 2017.
Under Article 74a of the Amending Regulation, ‘any natural or legal person, including institutions, authorities and bodies governed by public law, may apply for EU certification marks provided that such person does not carry on a business involving the supply of goods or services of the kind certified’. This means that the applicant for an EU certification mark is responsible for carrying out the necessary certification measures and cannot be involved in the business involving supply of the goods or services.
Overall, the introduction of certification marks at EU level is a promising and progressive step as it will allow businesses in operation across the EU the opportunity to better enforce collective product standards and achieve greater consumer assurance through implementation of a registered certification mark. Applications for EU certification marks will be considered from 1 October 2017.
If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing, please contact Fiona McBride (firstname.lastname@example.org; +441179253030) or your usual contact at the firm. This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
 Section 50 (1), Trade Mark Act 1994
 Article 74a, Section 2, Regulation (EU) No. 2015/2424
© Withers & Rogers LLP, September 2017