Changeover: "Ohne GenTechnik" to become a certification mark
Previously, the "Ohne GenTechnik" seal was protected as an "individual mark". However, the "certification mark", which was recently created specifically for quality seals, is a much better fit and offers, among other things, greater legal certainty. The conditions for seal users do not change as a result of the changeover; the value and legal status of the seal are actually improved.
Over 10 years of the "Ohne GenTechnik" seal
The standardized seal (green diamond) has been protected under trademark law by word and figurative marks owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), and VLOG. VLOG assigns exclusive licenses for the use of the seal. The seal was registered as an individual mark at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) more than 10 years ago.
Certification mark stands for transparency, neutrality and legal certainty
In 2019, the new "certification mark" category was created specifically for the assignment of quality seals or test marks such as the "Ohne GenTechnik" seal. It is characterized by particular transparency, neutrality and extensive verification and monitoring obligations for the trademark owner. VLOG takes this as an opportunity to register the "Ohne GenTechnik" seal with the EUIPO as a certification trademark.
VLOG to become sole trademark owner
The BMEL has decided against registering the trademark itself, but has no objections to a registration by VLOG. Consequently, the trademark will no longer be owned by the German Federal Government. We therefore recommend using the wording "government-initiated seal" instead of "government seal" in reference texts on product packaging or other advertising materials. More detailed information will follow when the certification mark is registered. The trademark use agreement between BMEL and VLOG, which regulated the assignment of licenses for the use of the individual trademark "Ohne GenTechnik" by VLOG to third parties, thus becomes insubstantial and will expire in April 2022.
Transitional period until the end of 2021
As things stand, the registration process for the certification mark should be completed towards the end of 2021. Until then, the sublicense to the existing individual marks in the new license agreements will continue until they are replaced with the registration of the certification mark in the trademark register. This transitional arrangement in the new license agreement means that it is not necessary to amend the license agreement with trademark registration again.