Elements of Geographic Certification Mark Applications Certification Statement

Elements of geographic certification mark

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Elements of Geographic Certification Mark Applications Certification Statement Certification Statement Must Define the Relevant Region The certification statement in a geographic certification mark application must define the regional origin that the mark certifies. 17 The identified region might be as large as a country 2
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or as small as a village, and an applicant may define it in general terms in the certification statement (e.g., “the Darjeeling region in India” or “the community of Roquefort, Department of Aveyron, France”). 18 The certification standards, however, will usually be more specific as to the particular geographic boundaries involved. If the available evidence indicates that the region identified by a geographic designation in the mark is well known for the identified goods or services, or that the goods or services are principal products of the region, the certification statement must limit the defined region to the region identified by the designation in the mark. 19 When the certification statement is not appropriately limited in these instances, it is possible that the mark will be applied to goods or services that do not originate in the region named in the mark. Thus, the mark is geographically deceptive as to those goods or services and must be refused accordingly. 20 See Part II.E . The applicant may overcome the refusal by amending the certification statement to limit the defined region to the region identified by the geographic designation in the mark. If there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the region identified in the mark is known for the goods or services, or that the goods or services are principal products of the region, the region defined in the certification statement may be broader than the region named in the mark. 21 However, the region named in the mark must still be encompassed by the larger region specified in the certification statement. 22 Certification Statement May Also Refer to Other Characteristics The certification statement must be sufficiently detailed to give proper notice of what is being certified, which may include other characteristics in addition to geographic origin. 23 For example, the registration for ROQUEFORT indicates the mark certifies that the cheese to which it is applied “has been manufactured from sheep’s milk only, and has been cured in the natural caves of the community of Roquefort, Department of Aveyron, France.” 24 Form of Certification Statement The certification statement must start with the following wording or the equivalent: “The certification mark, as used (or intended to be used) by authorized persons, certifies (or is intended to certify) . . . .” 25 The following are examples of acceptable certification statements for geographic certification marks: “The certification mark, as used by authorized persons, certifies the regional origin of potatoes grown in the State of Idaho and certifies that those potatoes conform to grade, size, weight, color, shape, cleanliness, variety, internal defect, external defect, maturity and residue level standards promulgated by the certifier.”
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