World-wide Certification-Mark Registration A Certifiable Nightmare

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This article was originally published by Bloomberg Finance L.P. Reprinted by permission.

Increasingly, consumers demand proof that the products and services they spend their hard earned money on are safe, healthy, reliable, eco-friendly, humanely raised or produced, and verifiably of the advertised geographic origin. To address such demands, businesses are seeking to advertise their products and services as being "certified" to posses the desired characteristics. As a result, many trade associations and non-profit organizations are offering certification programs that license proprietary "certification marks" to businesses whose products and services meet the programs' criteria. For the certification programs to work, the certification marks must be protected from counterfeiting and infringement through the world's existing trademark law systems. In many cases, however, the certifying entities are finding that the growing market for new certification marks has outpaced the ability of many countries' legal systems to effectively protect certification marks.

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