A collective mark is a trademark or service mark used, or intended to be used, in commerce, by the members of a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization, including a mark which indicates membership in a union, an association, or other organization.

A collective mark is used by all members of the collective group and therefore, no single member can own the trademark. The collective organization holds the title to the mark for the benefit of all members of the group.

In comparison, a trademark or service mark is used by the owner of the mark to indicate the commercial source or origin of the goods/services in the owner.


Under the Trademark Act of 1905, registration could be based only on a person’s own use of a mark. The Act did not permit for registration of collective and certification marks because such marks are generally used by a member of a collective organization or an authorized user, while the owner of the mark exercises legitimate control over this use by others. However, the June 10, 1938 amendment to the Act of 1905, out of which §4 and the accompanying definitions in §45 grew, changed this limitation on use and provided for registration of a mark by an owner who “exercises legitimate control over the use of a collective mark.”  “Collective marks,” however, were not defined in the federal statute until implementation of Section 45 of the Act of 1946.

Section 4 of the Trademark Act of 1946 provides the authority for the registration of collective and certification marks by persons exercising legitimate control over their use, even in the absence of an industrial or commercial establishment.  Section 45 defines collective marks and certification marks separately, as distinctly different types of marks. Additionally, the definition of collective mark in §45 encompasses collective trademarks and collective service marks, as well as collective membership marks, which indicate membership in a union, association, or other organization.  See regarding certification marks.


Registering a collective mark is very similar to registering a mark or service mark. The company needs to submit an application to the USPTO (Patent and Trademark Office). In the application, the applicant needs to show who is allowed to use the mark and how he/she intends to control that the users continue to meet the requirements.

The applicant also needs to accompany the application with a copy of the regulations that control the use of collective marks. A collective can use the same mark as a trademark and a collective mark. No one can use the same mark as a collective mark and a certification mark at the same time. The USPTO will examine the application to understand if the collective mark has the requisites to be registrable, and will approve or deny the application.

Application for the registration of a collective mark for goods or services under subsection (1) of section 63 shall be made to registrar in triplicate on Form TM -3, along with the prescribed fee and the regulations governing the use of the mark. If the applicant intends to apply the mark under more than one class, form TM-66 is to be used.

The regulations as required under rule 128 should include details as to
1) The name of the association of persons and their respective office addresses
2) The object of the association
3) The details of the members
4) The conditions of membership and relation of each member with group
5) The person authorized to use the mark and the nature of control the applicant exercise on the use of the collective mark
6) Conditions governing the use of the mark including sanctions
7) The procedure for dealing with appeals against the use of collective marks
8) Such other relevant particulars as may be called for by the registrar

As per section 64, if it appears to the registrar that the requirements for registration are satisfied, he shall accept the application together with the regulations, either unconditionally or conditionally subject to such conditions including amendments of the said regulations, if any, and if accepted, he shall notify the registration. Section 66 also mandates that amendments to the regulations need to be accepted and published by him if it needs to be effective. Application for amendments should be also similar to the application specified under section 64.


A business owner, entrepreneur, or industrialist knows the benefits of a collective trademark. They are as follows;

  • Exclusive trademark rights:

When it comes to collective trademark registration, the business owner secures exclusive rights over the use of the trademark. For this reason, the owner has the right to utilize the collective mark for all the products produced by his/her business or services rendered, submitted in the trademark application. Hence, the business owner has sole rights over the trademark, which Preventions others from using it. And in case it is used, the owner has the privilege to prosecute anyone who does.

  • Builds reputation and goodwill

A trademark on the product helps build brand reputation, and generate goodwill. This will further help customers identify products accordingly, and form a trust. Thus, enabling a loyal set of customers who will always choose products belonging to one particular brand, for regular use.

  • Unique Products

Concerning competition, a good service mark registration can help in making a service unique and further help in its promotion as well. The trademark will represent the vision or quality of the brand and in turn, help associate the business with it.

  • Identifies Value

Another benefit of trademarking a product is that it helps in attaching identity to the value provided by the product. This way, the brand also becomes part of that identity prompting customers to associate the same value and draw in new customers or clients. They will be able to distinguish the quality of the product by its trademark.

  • Intellectual Property

A trademark essentially acts as a product brand name registration, which automatically makes it an intellectual property for the business. The rights for trademark use can be sold, assigned, franchised or economically contracted. This makes the trademark an asset for the business which gives its association an added benefit.

  • Product Symbol

A registered trademark can use the symbol on its logo, to communicate that it is part of a registered trademark and no one can use any of its symbols. It is inclusive of its different uses just as rights. If someone, replicates, the design, logo or symbol then that person can be sued by the business.

  • Protection against infringement

Through a product brand name registration, the trademark becomes an exclusive right for the owner of the business, in terms of the usage. Hence, competitors or individuals cannot use the trademark or logo without the endorsement of the business owner. Thug registering a product helps in protecting against infringement of the logo.

  • 10 Year-Validity:

Registered trademarks have a 10-year validity and can be renewed indefinitely. It is cost-effective and enables the business to create and maintain a unique identity.

  • International collective mark Registration:

To secure a ™ on products, in foreign countries, the trademark needs to be applied for in that respective company. For this reason, the trademark applied in India can be used as a premise when applying in other countries. This will be used as a base when applying for a trademark in other countries, along with the goodwill earned in India.

  • Attract Influential Personalities

A good brand will help in attracting talented people or celebrities as brand ambassadors. These people will further enhance the brand image and business.

The advantages of trademark registration are more than the invested amount in registering. Its esteem may not be determined in fiscal terms in the present moment yet the market turnout offered by the enrolled trademark assumes a key role for the business development. Thus, make an application for Trademark Registration on most on the dot before another person registers it.


it becomes amply clear that collective marks is a species of trademark for goods/services that are owned by members of an association. Moreover, the mark creates an identity for the members in relation to the degree of quality, geographical origin and other features laid down by the association. A trademark serves to identify the origin of a particular mark i.e., to say the individual source of goods/services can be known. Whereas, on the contrary, a heterogeneous group of traders, who belong to the association that owns the collective trademark, can use a collective mark, instead of just one individual. 

Thus, collective trademarks are an effective tool for promoting products of a particular region that are peculiar to that region. A collective mark enhances the marketing of such products and cooperation among the local producers. It is when products of a particular geographic origin have a certain historical, cultural or social association with that place, collective trademarks come into existence. 

Therefore, a collective trademark is an embodiment of all the special features of goods/services of a particular origin, which are used to market the goods and benefit the producers. Collective marks are a cost-saving device which cut down on the cost of mark development and its marketing and advertising. Thus, a collective mark imparts a unique identity and recognition to the goods/services belonging to members of the association, making them widely popular and marketable. 

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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