We don’t need to tell you how important logos are in terms of identity and building trust. When it comes to Eurovent Certita Certification (ECC) certified logos, they are marks of performance, that instantly identify products that have attained the high standards of certification. We take the use of our logos very seriously, which is why we encourage anyone who sees logo misuse to report it to us immediately. Indeed, from 2020 we’ve had 103 reported logo misuse incidents, with around a third of all cases involving non-certified products/manufacturers.
To achieve Eurovent certification, manufactures have to undergo stringent tests, not only of products, but factory audits and software checks too. Certification criteria is far in excess of any baseline standards manufacturers and distributors need to pass in order to operate in the market. Any company using an ECC awarded logo - including the flagship Eurovent Certified Performance (ECP) mark, NF, QB, Keymark, CE Trade mark, MCS for Heat Pumps or Nex - has to hold valid certification.
Logo misuse is quite simply the incorrect use of a logo. This can include minor infringements all the way through to non-certified products falsely claiming certification. The most commonly misused logo is the Eurovent Certified Performance (ECP) mark, with the NF mark holding second place.
From an honest formatting mistake to fraudulent use, there are a number of ways to misuse a logo on marketing resources and materials, documents and other communications. For example:
When it comes to certified manufacturers, a number of incidents are genuine cases of accidental logo misuse, which are easily rectified with open discussion between ECC and the participant. Other times it may be that a product no longer qualifies for certification when it’s time to renew, or the manufacturer has decided to leave the programme. Any delay in removing certification claims and logos on expiry of the certificate can lead to a trademark infringement.
In the worst of cases, manufacturers or distributors with no affiliation whatsoever to Eurovent Certita Certification, claim their products are certified, in order to make their brand more attractive to buyers and drive sales.
First and foremost, misusing logos not only misleads customers, but can break the law too. Secondly, logo abuse can tarnish the value of that logo, by associating it with sub-par products and breaking trust with buyers.
ECC’s certification programmes are internationally recognised for their high standards and ECC itself is renowned as a trusted certification body compliant with the ISO/IEC 17065:2012 standard by COFRAC (Accreditation N°5-0517, scope available on www.cofrac.fr). Put simply, products attaining marks such as Eurovent Certified Performance are the gold standard in the HVAC&R industry. Sadly, when a logo is a valuable tool to market product performance and reliability, there will always be those ready to use it for fraudulent purposes.
Manufacturers and distributors are the most common culprits of logo misuse, with Air Handling Units (AHUs) topping the list of products most likely to have inappropriate logo use. AHUs are followed by filters and heat exchangers respectively when it comes to mis badging of products.
No one wants sub-par products damaging the reputation of bonafide certification schemes, so there are several ways to see if a product is certified. You can either check the certified product directory, use our certificate checker tool or view our Trademark incident list to view manufacturers and products that have been found to misuse our certification logos. Certified manufacturers can also talk to their programme manager about any concerning products.
Anyone can report logo misuse, from manufacturers and distributers, to specifiers, installers and end users. Certified manufacturers work extremely hard to ensure their products perform as claimed so it is beyond frustrating when others misuse the logo. It is therefore no surprise that the vast majority of reports of logo misuse are lodged by certified manufacturers.
Eurovent Certita Certification is also becoming more proactive at sniffing out misuse, and in 2022 revamped its methods for tackling the issue. Plans are afoot for the systematic checking of websites and materials to take charge of logo infringements.
Reporting logo misuse is 100% confidential. Those reporting a potential incident will need to provide contact details such as an email address, in case more information is required and to ensure they can be informed of the outcome.
When reporting an incident it’s really important to include proof of misuse, such as a copy of the offending document or brochure, a screenshot, photo or link to a webpage or social media post etc. The more information and evidence you can include in your initial complaint, the easier it becomes for us to take action.
If a you are a certified manufacturer, the quickest and simplest way to report misuse is to go direct to your client manager (even if product is outside of your programme).
The surveillance committee now meet once per month to investigate misuse cases. When a company is found to have misused a logo they will be contacted and given 15 days to remedy the situation. In the majority of cases misuse is easily resolved, with complaints taking on average 53 days to settle.
However, companies who fail to resolve those issues, will be placed on the Trademark Incident List if:
Entering the Trademark Incident List, isn’t a “blacklist” for life. Once the issue is resolved, the company can be removed from the list as long as they have:
To avoid going on the Trademark Incident List, companies receiving correspondence regarding logo misuse are urged to engage with ECC and rectify the situation in as timely a matter as possible.
In conclusion, logo misuse is bad for everybody, from ECC and certified manufacturers keen to protect the value of certification marks, to industry professionals and end users duped into buying non-certified products. However, the good news is that action will be taken whenever misuse if brought to our attention. If you suspect logo misuse please contact your client manager.