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Collective Mark - Intellectual Property Law Glossary

A collective mark is a specific type of trade mark which indicates that the goods or services bearing the mark were made or designed by members of a trade association. 

Collective marks are often defined as signs which distinguish the geographical origin, material, mode of manufacture or share a common characteristic with other goods or services of the different enterprises using the collective mark. The owner of the collective mark may be either an association of which those enterprises are members or an entity such as a public institution or a cooperative.

The owner of the collective mark is responsible for ensuring the compliance with certain standards (usually fixed in the regulations concerning the use of the collective mark) by its members. Thus, the function of the collective mark is to inform the public about certain particular features of the product for which the collective mark is used. Most countries require that an application for a collective mark be accompanied by a copy of the regulations which govern the use of the collective mark.

As with certification marks, collective marks are usually made easily visible to the buyer, either on product packaging or on websites, to convey the information to the buyer. However, collective marks differ from certification marks. The main difference is that collective trademarks may be used by particular members of the organization which owns them, certification marks may be used by anybody who complies with the standards defined by the owner of the particular certification mark.

Further reading can be done on the World Intellectual Property Organization website here.

Return to intellectual property law glossary here.