Dec 28, 2022
USDA registers USDA organic seal trademark
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service announced on Dec. 20 that it has registered the USDA organic seal trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The USDA seal trademark is specifically described in the Organic Foods Protection Act and is currently protected by federal regulation. Registration of the organic seal grants additional intellectual property rights to further restrict the use of the trademark or a confusingly similar one by uncertified farms and businesses.
“While we have always had the authority to enforce against fraudulent use of the organic seal, registering the seal with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office significantly increases the cost of fraud and helps us better protect U.S. consumers and farmers,” said Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
Operations trafficking in counterfeit organic goods or otherwise misusing the USDA organic seal may be subject to fines and imprisonment under the Trademark Counterfeiting Act. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection can also now detain, reject, or re-export imported products confirmed to be fraudulently using the USDA organic seal.
Certified organic operations are authorized to use the organic seal to identify the composition of their products and receive a premium for those products.
Certified organic operations are not required to change their labels to include the registration mark of the seal, and certified organic products currently in the marketplace still meet the requirements of certification. Operations may choose either version of the seal.
The updated version of the organic seal with the registration mark it is available for download in multiple file formats on the AMS website.