Do you work with start-up companies and need a basic understanding of the various intellectual property issues that can arise?

I will be co-presenting in this online seminar that will help you:

  • understand the trademark and copyright problems your client may encounter with branding;
  • learn how to protect your client’s branding once established;
  • familiarize your practice with patents, including what they protect, timing, and strategies to prevent inadvertent loss of patent rights before filing the application;
  • understand trade secrets and the importance of non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements;
  • recognize intellectual property issues relating to technology, including open source code and the cloud;
  • establish a proactive approach toward intellectual property ownership between cofounders, employees, and vendors; understand business names, domain names, promotional issues, and website content concerns.

The program qualifies for 1.5 hours MCLE credit.

I would like to personally invite you to attend the upcoming Law Ed program titled, “Identifying Intellectual Property Issues in Start-Ups,” which I will be co-presenting via live webcast on Tuesday, May 27th.

Presented by the ISBA Business Advice and Financial Planning Section

Co-Sponsored by the ISBA Intellectual Property Section

A presentation on what goes into creating original designs and how these differ from copycats.

WHERE: Decoration & Design Building, J. Robert Scott Showroom, Suite 220

WHEN: Wednesday, October 2,2013 !2 p.m.

WHAT: From film to fashion, creative industries are taking steps to protect and promote original work. Designers and manufacturers need to know what steps they can take to protect their designs, their businesses, and their profits. The discussion will address issues related to how to protect original design (copyright & design patent) and the manufacturers (trademark, unfair competition).

WHO:

INTERIORS Magazine Editorial Director Michael Wollaeger

J. Robert Scott Founder Sally Sirkin Lewis

Designer Laura Kirar [Web Site]

Intellectual Property lawyer David Adler

Showroom reception to follow.

 

Download the full Fall Decoration & Design Building Market Brochure Here.

On October 2, 2013, I will be attending the Decoration & Design Building Fall Market where I am giving a presentatIon on protecting original furniture & textile designs. Those in attendance share a belief that style and design matter.

As designers and purveyors of good taste, you may spend months developing a concept, selecting materials, agonizing over the exact curve of the arm of a chair. Manufacturers may refine the design, invest in tooling to build it, promote it, and get it to market. Merchandise buyers may spend months reading, researching, attending events such as this to obtain and fill your showrooms and catalogue with ineffable elements of style. This is original, authentic design. Authentic designs—pieces produced by designers or their authorized manufacturers—are investments.

Therein lies the problem for today’s furniture designers and retailers. It takes intellectual and financial capital to conceive, create and produce good design. Yet, today’s consumer driven, price-focused economy is making it more and more difficult for a designer to protect and profit from the investment of this intellectual capital.

This presentation will focus on why certain designs are protectable, how to protect them, and how to defend against knock-offs.

Entertainment Law News & Events

Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon Set For Feb. 8 | GRAMMY.com
The GRAMMY Foundation announced today that the keynote discussion at the 15th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon & Scholarship Presentation

Colorado IP and entertainment lawyer David Ratner forms ‘Creative …
‘Creative Law Network,’ a Denver-based law firm, will focus on small to mid-size businesses and artists.

Florida Bar Hosts Entertainment Law Event | Billboard
NEW YORK–The Florida Bar Assn.’s Entertainment Arts and Sports Law Section will host its sixth annual legal symposium on music, film and TV on March 26.

UNH Law to debut sports and entertainment law institute
Concord Monitor
The University of New Hampshire’s School of Law will open a Sports and Entertainment Law Institute next fall, giving students the opportunity to focus their studies for a law career in either field.

Entertainment lawyer Mike Novak dies
The Macomb Daily
For nearly three decades, Mike Novak’s name was synonymous with entertainment in the Detroit area. During his career the Troy-based attorney, a resident of Grosse Pointe Shores, represented the likes of artists such as Bob Seger and Kid Rock.

Use a Law Degree to Enter Environmental or Entertainment Fields
U.S. News & World Report (blog)
If you have a question about law school, E-mail me for a chance to be featured next month. This week, I will address questions from readers about pursuing environmental and entertainment law.

Fashion Law News

Minnetonka’s Trademark Suit Against Target Tip-Toes Away http://t.co/sF6vtszP via @FemmeLegale

VIDEO: First Ever Northern California Fashion Law Panel Produced …
First Ever Northern California Fashion Law Panel

Following the Dress Code: Fundamentals of Fashion Law with BK
February 13th – 6:00-8:00pm 2 MCLE Credits (Professional Practice) 123 Remsen Street, BrooklyModerator: Allegra Selvaggio, Esq.

About The Author

David M. Adler, Esq. is a 2012 Illinois SuperLawyer, author, educator, entrepreneur and partner with Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC, a boutique law firm in Chicago, Illinois created with a specific mission: provide businesses with a competitive advantage by enabling them to leverage their intangible assets and creative content in order to drive innovation and increase overall business value.

When Should I Conduct a Trademark Search & How Are They Done?

The original version of General Electric's cir...

The original version of General Electric’s circular logo and trademark. The trademark application was filed on July 24, 1899, and registered on September 18, 1900 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are There Limits to What is Discovered In a Trademark Search?

Is Registration Required For Trademark Rights?

Can Misspelled And Slang Words & Phrases Be Trademarks?

Does Use of a Trademark Confer Common Law Rights?

A Trademark Application Has Been Abandoned, Does That Mean I Can Use The Trademark?

When To Conduct A Trademark Search.

Sometimes the firm of Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC (“Firm”) is called upon to perform trademark searches or trademark application filings. However, it is vital to understand the limits inherent in the process and the ability to determine the availability of any given trademark. The Firm NEVER conducts a search to determine, or opine on, the availability of any given trademark unless specifically engaged to do so.

A Trademark Search should always be conducted well before one begins using a trademark. For example, if  you are planning a marketing campaign around a name or phrase, you should make sure that the proposed mark is “clear”, i.e., no one else is using anything “confusingly similar” for the same or similar goods and services. Failure to clear a mark for use can lead to claims for damages for infringement and/or dilution, loss of goodwill and loss of the goods themselves, not to mention loss of the time and expense creating, developing and marketing the product or service.

Trademark Searches Have Limits.

Although the search process is intended to reduce the potential for infringement and dilution claims, the risk of challenge to an application, registration or mere use of a mark is never completely eliminated. Even an especially thorough search may not uncover every potentially conflicting mark.

Registration Is Not Required For Trademark Rights.

Registration with the Trademark Office is not a prerequisite to obtaining trademark rights in the U.S. Many valid trademarks exist at common law without ever appearing on the federal trademark register. Some appear in state trademark registrations (although these registrations do not always reflect actual use); others are not registered at all.

Misspelled And Slang Words & Phrases May Be Trademarks.

Trademarks are source identifiers. therefore, to the extent that a trademark is distinctive, identifiable and memorable it is more protectable. Brand names often incorporate deliberate misspellings, puns, slang, and other variations on otherwise common words. Although a search would attempt to retrieve corrupted spellings, word plays and colloquialisms, there is no guarantee that all such variations will be found. As an additional precaution one should consider a search for foreign language equivalents and other variants on a proposed mark.

Mere Use of a Trademark Confers Common Law Rights?

Although some effort should be made to conduct a “common law” search using Internet search engines and news databases, this is not always conclusive of common law use. Since these databases were not expressly designed for trademark searching, there is no guarantee that all common law uses, corrupted spellings, irregular spacing or punctuation, or other variations will be identified.

The Existence of a Live or Abandoned Application Is Not a Legal Opinion About The Right to Use a Trademark Registerability, Strength or Weakness.

Please note that filing an application to register a federal trademark is not a legal opinion about the registerability of any particular trademark, the right or absence of the right to use a trademark, the strength or weakness of any trademark registration or application, or the likelihood that any third party may, or may not, seek to register a similar mark, seek to oppose any application, or seek to cancel any registration.

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment for Google in Rosetta Stone’s AdWordsLawsuit

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

For Trademark lawyers and brand owners, Google’s AdWords program has engendered no small amount of debate. Many companies have tried, unsuccessfully, to hold Google liable for keyword advertising triggered when a brand-owner’s competitor buys keyword advertisements under the AdWords program by purchasing the brand-owner’s trademarks as keywords. Rosetta Stone’s lawsuit is no different.

However, what is different this time is that Google will have to defend at trial its program of selling companies’ well-known trademarks to the highest bidder. In the widely watched ruling, the Court reinstated most of Rosetta Stone’s claims relating to infringement and dilution.

On the claim of direct trademark infringement, the Court found that there was evidence in the record to create a question of fact as to whether “a reasonable trier of fact could find that Google intended to cause confusion in that it acted with the knowledge that confusion was very likely to result.” Google’s own internal studies suggested that it was likely confusion would result from the use of third-party trademarks.

On the claim of  contributory infringement, the appeals court stated that the district court had improperly shifted the burden from Google to Rosetta Stone on the issue of whether Google allowed known infringers and counterfeiters to bid on Rosetta Stone’s trademarks as keywords

On the claim of trademark dilution, the appellate court reversed the district courts approval of Google’s “fair use” defense finding that the district court had not addressed Google’s good faith, and wrongly placed the burden of proof on Rosetta Stone, when the it was Google that was the party asserting fair use as  a defense.

Lastly, the appeals court addressed the functionality doctrine which is the use of a product design considered necessary by the nature of the product itself. Such aspects of the product design are not protectable and others are free to use it.  The court of appeals stated “[t]he functionality doctrine simply does not apply in these circumstances,” since Rosetta Stone’s trademarks were not a “functional” feature of its software.

You can read the opinion here.

It seems that every few months my clients get a raft of notices from very “official” sounding business, like “United States Trademark Protection Agency” seeking payment for services that appear to be necessary to maintain a trademark application or registration. As technology improves speed and efficiency, more of these opportunists are appearing.

U.S. Trademark Applications & Registrations are Public Records.

Filing an application for U.S. trademark registration makes certain information publicly available in the  U.S. Trademark Office records.  Several companies have been scraping these records and generating “official looking” notices and even invoices to unsuspecting companies.  These notices appear strikingly similar to  governmental agency communications and direct you to pay fees for registration,  monitoring (keeping an eye out for applications similar to yours) and for filing with domestic or international lists, directories, etc.

MANY OF THESE ARE SCAMS.

Despite claims otherwise, the United States Trademark Protection Agency (USTPA) is NOT a governmental agency and the U.S. Trademark Office (USPTO) web site even showed a warning that the USTPA is NOT affiliated with the USPTO.

Some companies charge fees to be listed in their worldwide trademark registration directories. These are not official filings, their usefulness is limited and they have no legal effect.

Other companies hire non-legal administrators to do trademark filings without proper supervision or training. These companies can prove very costly due to filing problems. I hope you are not confused by such mailings. Often, if you are represented by counsel, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will not send mailings directly to you, they will be sent to your attorney of record.  While some of these companies offer legitimate services, you should seek advice from legal counsel before utilizing them. Some examples of these companies include the following:

  • Globus Edition S.L. in Spain
  • Trademark Renewal Service in Washington, D.C.
  • Company of Economic Publications Ltd. in Austria
  • Edition The Marks KFT in Hungary
  • United States Trademark Protection Agency located in Seattle, Washington
  • Institute of Commerce for Industry, Trade, and Commerce located in Switzerland
  • CPI (Company for Publications and Information Anstalt) in Liechtenstein (a phantom company which says it works with
  • The Publication of Brand Names of the International Economy – another phantom company)
  • IDM International Data Medium AnsbH in Liechtenstein
  • S.A.R.L. – Societe pour Publications et Information located in Austria
  • TMI Trademark Info Corporation located in Pearland, Texas
  • ZDR – Datenregister GmbH in Germany

Many of these organizations send notices that look like invoices. I suggest that you not make payments without first consulting your attorney.

Official seal of the USPTO

Image via Wikipedia

Intellectual property is often the most significant driver of value among a company’s assets. Therefore, it is increasingly important for companies to actively manage their intellectual property assets to identify, categorize, register and enforce IP assets while minimizing the possibility of legal disputes.

Whether acquiring technology, developing new products or taking stock of the company’s intangible assets, companies must develop ways to protect their assets better, determine ways to realize more revenue from such assets, and reduce risks of costly litigation.

Below are ten intellectual property management tips that will help Companies and their counsel identify and protect IP assets and address infringement issues, among other key steps.

1. Identify: Simply put, think about what patents, trademarks and copyrights you might have and categorize them appropriately. This includes ideas in development.

2. Organize: Once categorized, review the relevant creation and publication/use dates. Determine registration status. File necessary maintenance documents as appropriate and create calendar/docket future due dates for supplemental filings.

3. Monitor: Review the USPTO and Copyright office databases periodically to ensure no junior users may weaken your rights.

4. Conduct a USPTO “Basic Search”: Start your search here. Individual results pages will include direct links to the mark’s records in TARR (best way to check current status of application/mark), ASSIGN (best way to see if the mark has been assigned), TDR (best way to retrieve relevant documents), TTAB (search and review board proceedings).

5. Conduct a USPTO Document Search: Use this database to determine existence of and locate documents related to specific applications.

6. Conduct a Copyright.gov Search: This is the best place to start with any copyright related questions. Includes searched for copies of registered works.

7. Google- search: Great secondary, broad-stroke search. Tends to return higher percentage of irrelevant results, but good at finding that needle-in-a-haystack type rip-off/con artist.

8. Create Google alerts: Use these to stay abreast of relevant changes in the database. Narrow alert criteria to specific keywords/phrases.

9. Conduct a State Trademark Databases Search: Don’t forget your own back yard. Search state databases for d/b/as, etc. (IL=cyberdriveillinois.com).

10. Ask you lawyer about specific concerns. Every situation is different and the only way to properly asses the risks/costs of any course of action is to discuss your matter with a competent attorney who practices in this area.

©2012 David M. Adler, Esq. All Rights Reserved.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of th...

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Hiring a lawyer

While small businesses often need some legal advice, they can’t always find a professional with the right expertise at a budget the small business can afford.  Since small businesses usually don’t need lawyers that often, when it comes time to review a contract, buy out a partner or protect their brand and trademark, they often don’t know where to start.  The purpose of this article is to give executives a business owners a guide on how to ask a prospective lawyer the right questions to get the service one needs at a price that one can afford.

To get answers to questions about hiring a lawyer, please select one of the links below.


How do I hire a lawyer?

Lawyers are highly-trained professionals who counsel individuals and businesses in a full range of personal and corporate legal matters. Many business transactions have legal implications, so you should try to find a lawyer whom you can treat as a trusted advisor. These questions are designed to help you choose the right lawyer for your situation.


What can a lawyer do for me?

Lawyers provide legal guidance. This doesn’t mean that they can make your business decisions for you. A lawyer should identify legal issues of concern to you or your small business, tell you what the law says about these issues, and advise you on how to address them.


How can a lawyer help me in setting up a business?

A lawyer can:

  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation;
  • draft a partnership agreement or incorporate your company;
  • review financial documents for your business such as a loan;
  • review leases of premises or equipment;
  • act for you in the purchase of property;
  • review franchise agreements;
  • draft standard form contracts for use in your business;
  • advise you how to best protect your ideas, trademarks, designs and know-how.

How can a lawyer help when my business is up and running?

A lawyer can:

  • help you negotiate contracts and put them in writing;
  • advise you on hiring and firing employees;
  • advise you about doing business in other provinces and countries;
  • help you collect unpaid bills;
  • defend any lawsuits against you;
  • advise you about taxes.

If I decide to get out of business, how can a lawyer help me?

A lawyer can:

  • help you sell your business;
  • help you sell you ownership interest if you are one of several owners;
  • arrange for the transfer of the business to your children;
  • dissolve a corporation or LLC.

When do you need a lawyer?

The recommended approach is to seek the advice of a lawyer whenever a legal issue arises that involves your business. Since it is not always clear when that happens, many problems are solved without resorting to lawyers. When an issue arises, you must first decide whether you need a lawyer at all. In order to know if you should solve your problem on your own, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the consequences if you are unsuccessful?
  2. How complex is the law in your situation?
  3. Do you have the time and energy?

If you are still unsure, some outside professionals, advisors or para-professionals may be useful:

Check with your Board of Directors or Board of Advisors; they can provide information about the steps they went through and the resources they used in solving their problems. Contact government and non-profit organizations for income tax, legal aid, consumer protection, employment standards, etc.

Check with other professionals: accountants, bank officers, insurance agents. For some routine matters, legal assistants, para-legals and notaries public are useful. While not allowed to give legal advice, they can provide added value in familiarity with standard corporate forms and filing requirements.

Also, don’t forget public libraries, legal aid services, student legal services, small claims courts, reading self-help books and other resources such as books, pamphlets and videos.


How do I contact a lawyer?

Give him a call. Most lawyers are happy to steer people in the right direction and calm fears about the legal process. There are several advantages to this approach. The main one is that a lawyer can quickly cut to the heart of your problem, distinguish between legal and non-legal problems. Another advantage is that you usually will not be charged for this phone call. Finally, a lawyer will not only keep your problem confidential, but has the ability to assess it from a less emotional perspective.

Please feel free to call us at (866) 734-2568 should you have any questions.


How do I find a lawyer?

First, try to identify the areas of law in which your problems fall so that you can find a lawyer capable with dealing with all these areas. Some of the main areas of legal practice linked to business are:

  • Corporate/commercial/securities law (incorporation, buying/selling a business, drafting shareholders/partnership agreement)
  • Labor/employment law (negotiating and interpreting collective agreements, resolving disputes, explaining obligations, advising about restrictive covenants, dismissals)
  • Civil litigation law (suing, being sued, collecting debts, negotiating and settling)
  • Real Estate law (buying or selling land or property, negotiating a lease, solving landlord/tenant disputes, mortgaging property)
  • Wills and estates (drafting or challenging a will, probate)

What should I ask a prospective lawyer?

Some questions you should ask a prospective lawyer are:

  • How many years are you in practice?
  • How long have you been with your current firm?
  • What areas of law do you practice?
  • Are you a partner or an associate?
  • Time and accessibility
  • How quickly can I expect a resolution?
  • When can we meet?
  • How much can I expect top pay?
  • How do you charge for your services?
  • Do you provide your clients with a detailed written statement of fees?
  • Do you charge anything for the first meeting?
  • Do you communicate via telephone, cell phone, fax or email?

How can I help my lawyer?

Ways you can help your lawyer include:

  • Be honesty and open
  • Tell the lawyer all the facts, even the ones that you think are “bad”.
  • Keep your lawyer up to date on any events or any changes relating to your file.
  • Ask for advice in plain language and summarize how you understand it.
  • Ask to be directed to any reading that you could do to better understand.
  • Ask for a description of the steps your lawyer plans to take and think about the way you could help at each step.
  • Stay informed and keep track of what transpires on your file.
  • Take notes at all meetings and list tasks to be completed.
  • Ask for copies of all correspondence on file.
  • Have confidence in your lawyer’s advice and follow his/her instructions.
  • Do not harass your lawyer. If you need more attention, discuss way in which he/she can keep you informed.
  • Be prepared to accept both positive and negative advice.
  • Never do anything concerning your case without consulting your lawyer.
  • Provide information to your lawyer as soon as possible after he/she requests it.
  • Pay your bills on time and be available if your lawyer needs you.

How do lawyers calculate their fees?

Depending on the complexity of the issues, the services required, and the degree of experience of the lawyer, fees can be charged in different ways:

  • Billed hourly: charged a rate for the time they spend working for you (e.g. the time spent reading a letter or talking on the phone).
  • Flat Fee: charge a flat rate for a particular matter, usually when they can predict how long the work will take: incorporations, trademarks.
  • Contingency Fee: in some matters, the lawyer’s fee will be a stated percentage of the amount of money collected from the lawsuit.
  • Retainer: provide a range of specified services for a fixed monthly or annual fee.

In addition, lawyers will also bill for disbursements such as long distance phone calls, photocopies, document filling fees, experts’ reports and travel expenses.


Safeguarding Ideas, Relationships & Talent®

Executives face an often confusing and changing set of challenges trying to ensure that their business remains legally compliant. Yet few can afford the highly-qualified and versatile legal staff needed to deal with today’s complex and inconstant legal and regulatory environment. Adler & Franczyk is a boutique law firm created with a specific mission in mind: to provide businesses with a competitive advantage by enabling them to leverage their intangible assets and creative content in a way that drives innovation and increases the overall value of the business.

We approach our relationship with each client as a true partnership and we view our firm as an extension of their capabilities. Our primary value is our specialization on relevant and complex issues that maintain the leading edge for our clients. We invite you to learn more about the services we offer and how we differ.

On the web: www.ecommerceattorney.com
On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/adlerlaw
On LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/adlerlaw

Subscribe to Ping® The Legal eNewsletter

We look forward to the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have regarding the range of business, technology and intellectual property services we offer. Please feel free to call us at (866) 734-2568 should you have any questions.

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

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Confused by what is and is not Green? You’re not alone.

Part 1 of 5

The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in consumer awareness and concern for environmentally-conscious or “green” consumerism. Coincidentally, as consumers join the movement to be more eco-friendly, businesses have likewise embraced both being green and being perceived as green in their marketing practices. The rapid proliferation of “green” brands begs the question “How do consumers and institutional buyers know if something is “green” or “eco-friendly”?”

To address such concerns, companies and industries have launched “ecolabels” and “eco-certification” schemes to add credibility to green claims, guide eco-friendly purchasing, and improve environmental performance standards. Demand for products with ecolabels is growing, though confusion about which companies are truly environmentally responsible persists.

Since environmental claims made in advertisements are often intangible, businesses need to make them resonate to consumers beyond just feeling good about what they are buying. Consumers and businesses can benefit from eco-labels by: (1) understanding how certification marks, labels and logos can be used to signal green credentials, (2) using and maintaining proper best practices and guidelines to which companies must adhere in order to meet a certified standard, (3) understanding which companies have succeeded in branding and why, (4) understanding how to avoid accusations of “greenwashing”, or exaggerated claims in their marketing, and (5) keeping informed about the changes in the legal and regulatory environment, such as the FTC‘s Green Guides for marketers.

This five-part series on “green” branding will discuss how to identify these issues, provide guidance on proper use of “green” certification marks, a/k/a “eco-labels,” develop policies and procedures to avoid misleading or unproven environmental claims and keep informed about the current trends, marketing strategies and regulatory regimes.

  1. Certification marks, and their role in signaling green credentials

A certification mark “certifies” the nature or origin of the goods or services to which it has been applied. This includes, for example, region or location or origin, materials of construction, method or mode of manufacture or provision, quality assurance, accuracy of the goods or services or any definable characteristic of the goods or services. It can also certify manufacture or provision of services by members of a union or other organization to certain standards.

For example, the Fair Trade Certified™ label applied to food products ensures that farmers and farm workers in developing nations receive a fair price for their product, have direct trade relations with buyers and access to credit, and encourage sustainable farming methods, without the use of a dozen of the most harmful pesticides, and forced child labor. The seal is viewed as a meaningful and clear signal that the producer supports the concepts of social responsibility, pest management and sustainable agriculture.

Under U.S. federal trademark law, a certification mark has a specific definition and certain characteristics. The term “certification mark” means any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof that is used by a person other than its owner to certify origin, material, manufacture, quality, accuracy, or other characteristics of goods or services.

There are generally three types of certification marks. First, there are geographic certification marks that signal that goods or services originate in a specific region (e.g., ROQUEFORT for cheese). Second, there are quality certification marks that indicate goods or services meet certain standards in relation to quality, materials, or mode of manufacture (e.g., approval by Underwriters Laboratories). Third, there are labor certification marks that certify (i) services performed or labor used in the manufacture of a product were provided by a member of a union or other organization, or (ii) the service provider meets certain standards.

Certification marks possess two distinct characteristics that set them apart from trademarks or service marks. First, unlike a trademark, a certification mark is used by someone other than the owner. The mark is generally applied by other persons to their goods or services, with authorization from the owner of the mark. Second, while the exclusive purpose of a trademark is to indicate commercial source or distinguish the goods or services of one person from another, a certification mark has no such purpose.

A certification mark is not used in the trademark sense of “used.” Rather, it may be used only by persons other than the owner of the mark. That is, the owner of a certification mark does not apply the mark to his or her goods or services and, in fact, usually does not attach or apply the mark at all. The owner of a certification mark does not produce the goods or perform the services in connection with which the mark is used, and thus does not control their nature and quality. Rather, “control” consists of ensure that users of the mark meet the standards established by the certifier.  The purpose of a certification mark is to inform purchasers that the goods or services of a person possess certain characteristics or meet certain qualifications or standards established by another person.

Proper us of “eco-friendly” certification marks can help businesses and marketers to add credibility to “green” marketing claims. As noted above, since the user of a certification mark is not the owner, the organization doing the certifying cannot itself engage in the production or marketing of the goods or services. Furthermore, the organization must be competent to certify that the requirements have been met. This is achieved by confirming adherence to the rules and regulations, providing methods of testing and quality control, and employing appointed individuals or bodies to periodically ensure conformance by a user.

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