EU certification marks: a new societal and environmental role?

"Brands play an increasingly complex role in society. Their position goes beyond economic impact to include social and environmental impact.
Zeeger Vink, INTA President
Opening ceremonyof INTA 2022 annual meeting
01. Definition
Transparency, reliability and guarantees are the new concerns of consumers.

To meet these expectations, in 2017 the European Union created the certification mark, whose essential function is no longer to indicate the origin of products or services, but to certify that the products or services meet precise characteristics.

What exactly is a certification mark?
Defined by the EU Trademark Regulation, a certification mark is a mark "capable of distinguishing goods or services for which the material, method of manufacture of the goods or provision of the services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics, with the exception of geographical origin, are certified by the owner of the mark from goods or services which do not benefit from such certification" (Article 83(1) EUMR).
02. Issues

Faced with new consumer demands and the desire of companies to place the environment at the heart of their strategy, certification marks play a key role.

A 2022 study on the evolution of consumers' Google queries* conducted over 5 years, in 90 countries and across several business sectors, reveals :

"On the one hand, that consumers are increasingly inclined to consume less, but better, and on the other, that they approach their investment and their relationship with finance by increasingly taking into consideration its impact on the planet and society."

* Sustainability Trends 2022, Kantar Insights Institute
Certification marks, as a "quality label", are particularly important for consumers of sustainable products, to certify, for example, that the raw material comes from sustainable sources.
Recent registrations for European Union certification marks bear witness to this objective.
03. In practice

The EU certification mark in 4 practical questions:

  1. What objectives?
  2. Who can deposit?
  3. How to deposit?
  4. In which territories is it valid?
What objectives?

The applicant creates a "quality label" trademark, which he authorizes third parties to use to certify their products and services. The certification mark is a sign of supervised quality and reinforces the company's brand image.

Who can deposit?

Any natural or legal person, including institutions, authorities and bodies governed by public law, provided that this person does not carry out an activity relating to the supply of products or services of the certified type.

How to deposit?

An EU certification mark must meet the same criteria as an individual mark (distinctive, available, compliant with public policy and not misleading for the consumer).

The depositor must :

Select the type of brand in your request
Select the products and services it will certify as a trademark holder
Include usage regulations
Read more
In which territories is it valid?

A European Union certification mark is valid in all 27 EU member states.

The EU certification mark has its equivalent in France : the guarantee mark (formerly known as the collective certification mark).
04. Key figures
EU certification marks have been registered since January1, 2021
including 21 word marks
and 133 figurative trademarks
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