Keep Calm and Collective!

May 17, 2017

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 they cover. 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. Collective marks also can be used by the collective to promote the goods or services of the group.

Some examples of collectives marks are:

The “CA” device used by the Institute of Chartered Accounts. The mark “CPA” used to indicate members of the Society of Certified 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 association later registered “Poronguito” as a collective mark, under which its members would trade their cheese. The quality of the cheese produced in Cajamarca has been linked to the local soils and climate of the region, which contribute to the quality of the milk used in cheese production (this is also known as a ‘geographical indication,’ but we’ll save that for a separate article). By creating an association, and registering a collective mark, APDL is able to control the quality associated with Cajamarca cheese and stop others from taking advantage of the name.

Registering a collective mark can be beneficial to small and medium enterprises that want to jointly market their products, especially where the products have some special quality associated with them. And, as you may have guessed by now, under the new Trade Marks Law, collective marks will be registrable in the Cayman Islands through CIIPO!

Are you a 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!   

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