–Dan Kelly, Attorney

If my search of the DuetsBlog archive is accurate, it appears that we have never covered the topic of certification marks.  Certification marks are at once similar to trademarks and also very different.  The similarities are that both are “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof” that are used in connection with particular goods or services in commerce.  The differences are that trademarks (and service marks) are used by the owner to indicate the source of goods or services, whereas a certification mark is used by someone other than the owner of the certification mark to certify that the goods or services have a particular origin or characteristic.

An example to illustrate:

Some American flags are made overseas.  Want one made in the United States?  Look for those with this certification mark:

(Note the blue oval.)  Buy a flag with this mark, and you know that it is certified by the Flag Manufacturers Association of America as “made in the USA of materials that are domestic in origin and that all processes in every step of the U.S. flag’s manufacture were completed in USA facilities with USA labor.”

Have a happy 4th of July!