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Misusing of the mark - Illegal use of DIN marks

Our DIN marks certify a number of positive attributes, including quality, reliability, safety, and consumer and environmental protection.

Certificate holders may use our certification marks for their products or services only after they have been subjected to the proper inspection and certification process at DIN CERTCO.

This certification process is carried out in line with strict accreditation criteria and forms the basis for the success and respect accorded to the DIN marks. This process naturally also incurs costs on the part of the certificate holder.

Unfortunately, we sometimes encounter cases in which our DIN marks have been misused. The illegal use of the mark can take on different forms:

  • A manufacturer or retailer uses the internationally protected DIN mark without beeing in possession of a valid certificate. Marking e.g. its products with the DIN mark without permission and thus benefit from the reputation and significance of the brand DIN on German and international markets.
  • A certificate has been expired and was canceled by DIN CERTCO. Thus the right to use the DIN mark expires automatically.
  • Changes were made on the product without prior information to DIN CERTCO in writing. Supplementary testing or type testing and amendments of certificates can result from these changes.
  • The DIN mark is placed next to other products (e.g. in brochures) which are not certified or it is used without the corrsesponding registration number.

In order to protect our customers and the reputation of the DIN mark itself, we cannot therefore accept the improper use of DIN marks in the market. We investigate all instances in which DIN marks are misused and reserve the right to take action under civil law (e.g. by lodging a claim for damages).

You can find all cases of misusing of our certification marks in the published "Black List" (products, persons and services which wrongly use the conformity mark issued by us) as well as falsifications of our certificates or notifications of registrations.

In the interests of our customers and to enable us to investigate this type of misuse more quickly, we would like to ask for your assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you discover any instances in which DIN marks have been used improperly. You can also gain an overview of the valid certificates in our database.

Thank you!

Your DIN CERTCO Team

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does the use of, example the wordmark "DINplus" constitute the misuse of a certification mark?
    • The wordmark DINplus (for example "DINplus" or "DIN+") may not be used because it constitutes a misuse of a certification mark. The legal basis for this is enshrined in the Trademark Protection Act.

      Wordmarks as well as company identifications are protected under §§ 14, 15 of the Trademark Protection Act as the exclusive right of the trademark owner. Trademark law protects the owner's interests via § 14 (2) no. 1-3 of the Trademark Protection Act in various ways.

      As well as the protection of identity § 14 (2) no. 2 of the Trademark Protection Act also provides protection against confusion. Trademark protection merely requires that the offending trademarks be identical or similar. Similarity of marks in the trademarks is thus the primary pre-requirement. This includes, for example the use of DINplus or DIN +. Similarity is always deemed to exist if the sound, image or sense of the trademarks should coincide.

      The second pre-requirement is that in addition to similarity of signs the goods or services offered by the offending trademarks should be identical or similar.

      Finally, the coincidence or identity of the trademarks, which is the third pre-requirement, must result in the risk of confusion. Such is the case if the target group might believe that the goods or services in question originate with the same company or alternatively with companies which have a commercial association with each other.

      This state of affairs as regards protection is known as trademark protection, inasmuch as it depends on the degree of similarity which is exhibited by a mark on the one hand, and by the goods or services on the other, and is also influenced by the distinctiveness of the older trademark. The greater the degree of brand awareness or the unique nature of the trademark, the swifter will the risk of confusion arise.

  • What is the correct use of the marks which we assign to certified products, services, persons and specialist companies?
    • The mark may only be used in connection with the appropriate registration and for the products which are covered by the certification. This allows the holder of the certification to be traced. This can be checked in our DIN CERTCO database, which lists all certificate holders.

      For further information, please see our respective flyer (PDF, 1.31 MB) for the correct use of our marks.

  • Why is the dealer not allowed to advertise using the marks "DIN plus" or "DIN-certified" without a certificate or the correct identification of the product, person or service?
    • The product's correct identification leads us to the manufacturer or to the holder of the certification, who will be listed in our DIN CERTCO database, which allows the holder of the certification to be traced. However, the dealer also has the option, with the manufacturer's consent, of acquiring a sub-certificate and he may then advertise direct using the mark.

  • How is the misuse of a certification mark dealt with?
    • Every reported use of a certification mark is examined carefully on receipt. DIN CERTCO will examine the case on the basis of the information available, and initiate suitable action.

      The subject of the report will be asked in a first letter to desist from the unauthorised use of the sign immediately, and to withdraw improperly identified products from sale. He will also receive a declaration to cease and desist for signature and at the same advised that failure to do so will render him liable to a fine.

      If he fails to comply with that request, or fails to so to an adequate extent, he will receive a further letter after three weeks threatening legal action and inclusion on DIN CERTCO's blacklist. Should that threat prove to be of no avail, a decision will be made on legal action, an entry made on the blacklist and the subject of the report notified accordingly.

      DIN CERTCO's blacklist (PDF, 683 KB) includes companies (manufacturers and distributors) who use on or more of the signs assigned by DIN CERTCO without a valid certification or registration.

      The informant will also be notified that the process has been concluded.

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