Archived — Certification Marks

Publication Date: 1974-09-18

The Office has for some time accepted, as complying with paragraph (a) of the definition of "Certification Mark" in the Trade Marks Act, a standard defined in very general terms. For example, a defined standard such as "the wares shall be produced according to specifications fixed by the trade mark owner and shall be of a quality satisfactory to the trade mark owner" has been accepted. It appears to be clear that such a general standard does not meet the requirements of the Act. Moreover, it is not in the public interest since the real standard is not ascertainable from the Office records and may be changed by the trade mark owner at will without recourse to this Office as contemplated by paragraph 40(d) of the Act.

Effective immediately, an application for registration of a certification mark will not be accepted unless it contains a meaningful standard that meets the intention of the definition of "certification mark" in the Act.

The legality at the office practice of accepting "proposed use" certification mark applications has been called in question in connection with co-pending applications. It has been decided, after receiving argument from attorneys prosecuting the applications, that there is no legal basis in the Trade Marks Act for such applications. In reaching that decision, it was concluded that the wording of the definitions of "proposed trade mark" and "trade mark" and of sections 23, 29 and 39 left little if any room for doubt. Accordingly, the practice of accepting "proposed use" certification mark applications is also discontinued effective immediately.

The changes of practice set out in this Notice apply to applications pending on this date as well as to those filed hereafter. An applicant whose application is affected by this Notice may wish to consider converting his application to a "proposed use" application for an ordinary trade mark.

Date modified: