3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. (3-A SSI), McLean, Va., announced the legal registration of the 3-A Symbol and 3A word mark by the European Union (EU) Intellectual Property Office. The new registrations encompass a wide range of sanitary industrial food equipment covered by a 3-A Sanitary Standard and authorized to display the 3-A Symbol.

Extending protection of the 3-A SSI marks to the EU is of major commercial significance for licensees, 3-A SSI said. The registrations provide rights for 3-A SSI licensees in the EU to oppose conflicting applications, bring a cancellation action against a conflicting registration, sue for infringement against confusingly similar third-party trademark use, apply for seizure by customs authorities of counterfeit goods being imported into the EU, obtain damages for infringement, and more.

The EU registrations cover both the 3-A Symbol and the “standard character” or word mark. Thus, an unlicensed user would be infringing the mark if it states that it is providing a “3A” licensed product or that it conforms to 3-A Sanitary Standards, 3-A SSI said.

The number of 3-A Symbol licensees from EU countries and China has increased significantly in recent years with the growing international demand for authentic hygienic food processing equipment meeting 3-A design criteria. 3-A SSI said it has stepped up to provide licensees with new tools to help fight the continuing challenge of counterfeits. Early this year, 3-A SSI announced registration of its trademarks in China to provide licensees with similar protection against infringing products.

The 3-A Symbol is a registered mark used since 1956 to identify equipment that meets 3-A Sanitary Standards for design and fabrication. Voluntary use of the 3-A Symbol on dairy and food equipment conveys assurance that equipment meets sanitary standards, provides accepted criteria to equipment manufacturers for sanitary design and establishes guidelines for uniform evaluation and compliance by sanitarians. 3-A Sanitary Standards are widely known and used in many markets around the world, 3-A SSI noted.