Written by: Susan Neuberger Weller

We have all seen or heard about them without, perhaps, knowing what they were or for what they stand: the GOOD HOUSEKEEPING seal of approval, UL certified, ENERGY STAR rated, GROWN IN IDAHO potatoes,  HARRIS TWEED, and many, many more. They are called certification marks and they fall within the province of trademark law. Certification marks are words, slogans and/or logos licensed by their owners to be used on products or in connection with the advertising of services offered by third parties which meet standards set by the certification mark owner. Their purpose is to inform the public that the products or services certified meet certain minimum quality standards established by the owner/certifier, to ensure a higher level of consumer protection and safety.

Continue Reading Counterfeit Certification Marks: How to Certify that the “Certified” is Certified

If You Make Any Environmental Claims About Or Use Certification Marks on Products or for Services…The FTC has News for You.

On October 1, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission issued its revised Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, known as the “Green Guides.” The purpose of the Guides is to help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claims that may be perceived as deceptive or unfair under Section 5 of the FTC Act. The Guides do not confer any rights on any person and they do not bind the FTC or the public. The FTC does have the right to take action under the FTC Act if an environmental claim is made that is inconsistent with the Guides. They do not preempt federal, state, or local laws, and compliance with those laws does not preclude an action by the FTC. As stated therein, the Guides apply to “claims about the environmental attributes of a product, package, or service in connection with the marketing, offering for sale, or sale of such item or service to individuals… and also apply to business-to-business transactions.” The “claims” include those made in labeling, advertising, promotional materials, and all other forms of marketing in any medium, whether asserted directly or by implication, by words, symbols, logos, depictions, product brand names, or any other means. Continue Reading FTC Revises “Green Guides”