A certification mark specimen must show how a person other than the owner uses the mark to reflect certification of regional or other origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy, or other characteristics of that person’s goods or services; or that members of a union or other organization performed the work or labor on the goods or services. 37 C.F.R. §2.56(b)(5); see In re Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists, 85 USPQ2d 1403 (TTAB 2007).
Although a certification mark performs a different function from a trademark or a service mark, users of certification marks typically apply them to goods and services in a manner similar to trademarks and service marks. That is, certification marks appear on labels, tags, or packaging for goods, or on materials used in the advertising or rendering of services. Thus, specimens of use in certification mark applications generally are examined using the same standards that apply to specimens for trademarks and service marks. See TMEP §§904–904.07(b)(i). However, because it is improper for certification marks to be used by their owners, any specimen of use submitted in support of a certification mark application must show use of the mark as a certification mark by an authorized user. 37 C.F.R. §2.56(b)(5).
Sometimes, the owner/certifier prepares tags or labels that bear the certification mark and that are supplied to the authorized users to attach to their goods or use in relation to their services. See Ex parte Porcelain Enamel Inst., Inc., 110 USPQ 258 (Comm’r Pats. 1956). These tags or labels are acceptable specimens.
See TMEP §1306.04(c) for information regarding characteristics of certification marks and specimens that show the mark functions as a certification mark.
See TMEP §1306.05(b)(iii) regarding specimens for geographic certification marks.