Does it pay to be certified?
In this modern day and age, consumers like to know that the goods or services they purchase are of a high quality. As a result, it can be quite a lucrative for a trader to sell goods or services that have a certification mark. A certification mark can take the form of names, symbols, or devices and is used by groups or persons to show compliance to a high level of standards. Due to how lucrative the use of a certification mark can be, the products or services that have certification marks are highly regulated by associations.
What is a certification mark?
A certification mark signifies that the trader’s goods or services has met the official standards required under the mark e.g. the Assured Food Standard’s tractor logo. The logo can be found on chicken, pork, lamb, beef, fruit, vegetables, salad, flour, sugar and dairy products. It indicates that the food item can be traced back to the farms producing under Assured Food Standards (AFS). The main point to emphasise here, is that a certification mark is used by the trader themselves, but it is given by the proprietor (usually an association) to certify that these goods or services possess the relevant characteristics e.g. quality, content, method of manufacture and origin of manufacture.
UK law on certification marks
The definition on a certification mark can be found in the Trade Mark Act 1994 (“TM 1994”) in section 50 (1) as the following:
“A certification mark is a mark indicating that the goods and services in connection with which it is used are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics.”
Consequently, one can see that consumers rely heavily on goods and services being accurately marked with the correct certification. It helps to inform consumer spending and ethical habits, which justifies the need for certification marks to be strictly regulated.
By Fatima Amedu