Difference between Collective Trademark and Certification Mark

A trademark is a kind of intellectual property that belongs to a particular individual, a company (for business), or even a legal body. Although we may see many trademarks regularly, we fail to understand its significance and the value it holds in goods and services trade.

Why is a Trademark Used?

A trademark is used to represent a company. It consists of any design, numbers, symbols, etc. These designs are specifically designed for the company. It also has patent rights and one trademark cannot be used for another company. This can be used by the company in any place and forms. Using another company’s trademark anywhere without the company’s consent can lead to legal complications. Trademarks act as a medium to get a more targeted audience and will eventually donate to the growth of the company/ organization, In a customer’s perspective, this helps them self-educate about various products/ business/ organizations in the society.

Various Types of Trademark:

The different types of a trademark are as follows:

  • Word mark
  • Figurative mark/ logotype
  • Three-dimensional mark
  • Sound Mark
  • Motion Mark
  • Multimedia mark
  • Hologram mark
  • Position mark
  • Pattern mark

Trademarks are of many types and are used for various purposes and reasons based on the business and activities. However, for this article, the difference between a collective trademark and a certification (also known as a certified trademark) is explored. This article is a brief explanation of the Collective trademark and Certification trademark and knows its differences.

What is a Collective Trademark?

A collective trademark may be defined as a design or a sign that can be used (or intended to be used) by an organisation that provides any type of goods or services, to differentiate its goods or services from other organisations or entities who produce similar and/or goods or services. Collective trademarks are vital in protecting intellectual rights over goods or services and helps in differentiating genuine and counterfeit goods and helps the consumer make informed decisions. A collective trademark can be used by a group of traders or sellers, on the condition that the vendor belongs to the organisation or association who issues the collective trademark. Examples include CA or Chartered Accountancy. In simple words, a collective trademark is used by an organization or association. This acts as an identity amongst society.

What is a Certification Mark?

A certification mark is defined as a registered intellectual property issued by a governing certification body when a product or service meets the official standard issued by a governing body. A certification mark is used to signify quality, contents, and a few other factors such as manufacturing methods and/or location. When the owners or producers of the goods or services display a certification mark on their product, the consumers can identify that the item or service is of a particular standard. Examples of certification marks include ISI standard (which signifies that the product complies with the Indian Standard developed by Bureau of Indian Standards) and a Halal certificate. In simple words, a certification trademark is used to denote a certain standard. This acts as a medium to classify or distinguish a certain group/ groups.

Difference between a Certification Mark and a Collective Trademark

While we understand that the Certification trademark is very different from the Collective trademark, it can be easily understood when compared side by side. Few points can compare the major differences of both these trademarks. A tabular differentiation to understand has been made with this article. Some of them are as follows:

S. No. Certification Trademark Collective Mark
1. Denotes that goods or services from an organisation are approved Used to distinguish the attributes of a product from other products
2. Can be used by any organisation as long as they follow the standard Can only be used by the organisation who owns the trademark
3. Does not indicate the origin of a product Shows the origin of the product
4. Can be owned by a single entity Can only be owned by an association of producers
5. Does not protect intellectual rights Used to protect intellectual rights


Both the certification trademark and the Collective trademark are different from each other. They are comparatively different and hold high significant values. There are many higher levels of understanding about these two trademarks with various deep insights on the same that can be found over the internet and various books. These trademarks act as a medium to communicate with society, to help them understand their product better, and to differentiate the odds. Trademarks act as a medium to grow the business. As mentioned, trademarks are used to differentiate products at all mediums, this will help the product/ company/ business/ organization get more audience that will eventually lead to the growth of the business.