By Candace Westby
Trade Mark Examiner

Ms. Westby works for CIIPO, which provides information about IP protection in the Cayman islands. Get Creating Cayman is a regular column on your rights and responsibilities under Cayman’s IP laws. For more info, visit email

What Are Collective Marks!

Collective marks are a type of trade mark that distinguish the mode of manufacture, material, geographical origin or other characteristics of the goods or services of members authorised to use the mark. They are used by associations, collectives or groups to identify the goods or services of their members from non-members.

When an application to register a collective mark is filed, it must be accompanied by a copy of the “rules governing the use of the collective mark”. These rules must state the persons who are authorised to use the mark, i.e. members only, conditions to be a member, and any other conditions to use the mark. This means that a collective mark is owned by the collective, which is responsible for ensuring that members comply with the rules.

The main function of a collective mark is to indi-cate member-ship and is used by members only; for example, REALTOR® identifies members of the National Associa-tion of Realtors®. Collective marks can also be used by the collective to promote the goods or services of the group.

Some other examples of collective marks are: the “CA” device used by the Institute of Chartered Accounts, and the mark “CPA” used to indi-cate members of the Society of Cer-tified Public Accountants.

Cajamarca, located in the northern highlands of Peru, is known for its dairy products and fine cheeses. In 1999 a group of small businesses decided to form the first cheese makers association – Asociación de Productores de Derivados Lácteos (APDL) – to focus on addressing the issues they were facing. The associa-tion later registered “Poronguito” as a collective mark, under which its members would trade their cheese. Cajamarca is a ‘geographical indica-tion’ because the quality of the cheese produced in Cajamarca has been linked to the local soils and climate of the region, which contrib-ute to the quality of the milk used in cheese production. By creating an association, and registering a collec-tive mark, APDL is able to control the quality associated with Ca-jamarca cheese and stop others from taking advantage of the name.

Registering a collective mark can be beneficial to small and medium en-terprises that want to jointly market their products, especially where the products have some special quality associated with them. Under the new Trade Marks Law, collective marks are registrable in the Cayman Islands by having a registered agent submit an application to CIIPO!

Are you part of a cooperative, an association, or any collective group or organisation? Does the group have a set logo associated with it? If you are, you may want to consider a collective mark registration as you get creating, Cayman!