A certification mark is a label on a product that indicates its compliance with the existing standards and regulations. It helps companies show consumers that their products are high-quality, meet certain requirements, and have the necessary documentation.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a certification mark is, clarify the difference between a certification mark and a trademark, and learn how to obtain this mark.

What does a certification mark indicate?

A certification mark indicates that your products and services have been thoroughly tested in terms of their quality, safety, and durability. Certification organizations confirm that a product meets the existing standards and let companies use a specific type of certification mark for their goods. It shows that there is an agreement between a producer and national testing organizations. This agreement controls the safety and quality of products from different brands all over the world.

If a product or service has a certification mark, it meets the existing requirements of certification centers. If a government agency registers a certification mark, it approves the product’s quality. There are different types of marks. They can show the specific region an item comes from and how it was produced. For example, if a product was created from recycled materials, you’ll see it on its certification mark.

There are no special rules for certification marks. They don’t need to include some special kind of wording, but you can often encounter goods with the word “certified” on their packaging.

Now that you know why brands need certification marks, it’s time to find out what the difference is between certification marks and trademarks — sometimes people use these terms interchangeably, though they denote different processes.

Certification Mark vs. Trademark

People confuse these two terms, so we’ll provide a detailed description of each. This way, you’ll be able to identify whether someone is talking about a certification mark or trademark.

A certification mark is a label that indicates that a product complies with the standards and requirements of certification organizations. They evaluate the safety, quality, material, and other characteristics of goods and services and decide if they comply with a certain set of standards. A certification mark supports the agreement between producers of goods and testing organizations on a national level.

A trademark is a word, symbol, or phrase designed to indicate that a product or service was produced by a specific company. It prevents any infringements or negative influences on such companies’ reputations from other businesses. A registered word, symbol, or design associated with your products allows you to protect your brand from being brought down by competitors’ dishonest acts.

In a nutshell, a certification mark indicates that an item is produced in compliance with generally accepted rules and standards, whereas a trademark helps its producer protect their ownership rights on their products and services.

The difference is clear now, so let’s proceed to the next section to discover how to register a certification mark.

How do you acquire a certification mark?

Although the process of acquiring a certification mark takes some time and effort, it is worth it in the end, as your products’ quality, materials, and origin will be nationally recognized.

To get a certification mark, you need to have the following documents:

  • a legal name and physical and email address;
  • a legal entity type;
  • citizenship (the US or a foreign country);
  • a detailed description of your certification mark;
  • an English translation (for those who have their documents in a foreign language);
  • the list of goods for which you want to get a certification mark;
  • a drawing of your certification mark;
  • a filing fee (charged by a government agency) and a filing basis.

Once you have all the documents from the list above, you can apply to get a certification mark. To do it, use the Trademark Electronic Application System. You’ll be notified when your certification mark is ready.

To recap, certification marks differ based on the products you use them for but are similar in their purpose — protecting customers’ rights. They prove that certain products and services are safe and created according to generally accepted standards.


  1. This article provides readers with the definition and reasons to consider getting a certification mark.
  2. In this article, you’ll find the difference between a certification mark and a trademark.
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