The Shy Cousins: Collective and Certification Trade Marks.


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) understand the value of marketing campaigns but are often not in a financial position to prioritise those activities. The trade marks system can help, with the provision of two useful and directed registration options: collective and certification trade mark registrations. We will provide a taste of each in this article: don’t hesitate to call us if you think your business may benefit from one of these options.

Collective Marks

A collective mark is generally owned by an association, public institution, co-operative or the like, and is available for use only by members of that organisation. The collective trade mark registration functions as an indicator to the public that the standard of certain features of the goods or services in respect of which the mark is used, is maintained by the owner of the mark.

Collective marks are also used to promote products which are characteristic of a given region or manner of manufacture, for example PECORINO ROMANO, LAMBRUSCO and PARMA (see below).

Registration of a collective trade mark has the same requirements as a standard application. If you are considering this option, ensure that you select a trade mark that is distinctive and not descriptive of the goods or services that your organisation provides. This will ease the process of registration.

There are currently 317 registered collective trade marks on the IPAustralia database. Some examples are:

YWCA trade mark

Parma Trade Mark

Pecorino Trade Mark

Lambrusco Trade Mark

AFL Coaches Trade Mark

Certification Marks

Certification marks are registered in respect of compliance with defined standards. These standards must be provided to the Trade Marks Office at the time of the application, and they are reviewed by the ACCC before registration is permitted. The owner can be anyone that can certify that the relevant products meet the required standards, and use of the mark is not limited to membership: anyone whose product meets the required standards can use the mark.

Once again, these registrations can be a very powerful tool for SMEs wanting to indicate to the public a consistent quality standard of goods or services.
As with collective marks, registration of certification trade marks has the same requirements as a standard application. Select your mark with care, and be prepared to change it should it be found to be descriptive or otherwise difficult to register.

There are currently 513 registered certification marks on the IPAustralia database. Some well-known examples are:

Heart Foundation Logo

Wool mark logo


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