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How Do Certification Trade Marks Work?

How Do Certification Trade Marks Work?

Certification trade marks can be beneficial for enhancing your product's image and reliability. Find out more in this article.

16th September 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Certification trade marks can be beneficial for enhancing your product’s image and reliability. You may want to consider registering a CTM or licensing with an existing CTM. But what does that mean? And how do you do it?

What are Certification Trade Marks?

Certification trade marks (CTM) are a type of trade mark that show that products have met specific requirements. Certification trade mark requirements are usually based on principles such as ethical manufacturing, domestic manufacturing, or, ensuring a certain quality to the product. An example of a CTM is the ‘Australian Made’ CTM. Australian Made allows all their licensees who satisfy their ‘made in Australia’ rule to use their logo on their products. The logo which is a green triangle with a yellow kangaroo can be found on many products in your local supermarket and make it easier for customers who want to support domestic producers.

If your product meets the requirements for certain CTMs, you can consider applying to become a licensee. Alternatively, if you would like to register for your own CTM, you can do so by submitting an application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Certification Trade Marks vs Standard Trade Marks

CTMs are different to standard trade marks. Standard trade marks are registered for a particular word, logo, smell etc. to protect the idea from being used by other businesses.

Licensing an Existing CTM for your Product

All CTMs undergo assessment by the ACCC. This impartial evaluation can help build customer confidence in your products. Therefore, it may be valuable to find an existing CTM and becoming a licensee of that CTM. Each CTM will have their own CTM rules and code of practices which you must satisfy. Once the requirements are satisfied, you can carry their mark on your products. You can register to become a licensee of a CTM through following their specific registration process, as each CTM assess their applications independently.

If you are unsure about what CTM is best for your product or how to register with them, it is best to consult a trade mark lawyer who can provide you with legal guidance.

Registering for a CTM

Alternatively, you may want to register for your own CTM. You can do this by first applying to the Registrar of Trade Marks at IP Australia. Once the Registrar has received your application, it will be assessed by the ACCC. They verify that none of the rules for your CTM are unethical. IP Australia will also check to see whether your CTM is too similar to existing CTMs. Finally, IP Australia will advertise you CTM to the public for a month, allowing anyone to object to your CTM. If there are no further issues, your CTM application will be successful.  Some of the CTM rules that you must supply in the registration include:

  • Specific standards that products must qualify to become a licensee of your CTM
  • Who is qualified to make the assessments
  • Dispute resolution methods that will be used when disputes regarding your CTM arise

For more rules that you must provide when registering your CTM check out the ACCC’s CTM Rules Checklist.

Find out more about CTM registration at the ACCC’s website.

Check out IP Australia’s fact sheet, for more information about the application process.


Whether you are licensing an existing CTM for your product or registering for a new CTM, it may be worthwhile considering associating your product with a CTM to boost customers’ confidence in your products. If you are unsure of about how to approach CTMs, consult a trademark lawyer who can provide you with tailored legal advice for your unique situation.

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Kelly Ng

Kelly is a Legal Tech Intern at Lawpath, working in the Content Team. She is currently in her 2nd year studying a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Communications degree at the University of Technology, Sydney. Kelly’s interests lie in Technology Law and Legal Technolgy.