The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) from the USDA has announced 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.
As the trademark owner, USDA can seek additional civil remedies such as injunctive relief and monetary damages under the Lanham Act. Operations trafficking in counterfeit organic goods or otherwise wilfully misusing the USDA organic seal may be subject to fines and imprisonment under the Trademark Counterfeiting Act.
Certified organic operations are authorized to use the organic seal to identify the composition of their products and receive a premium for those products. For consumers, the organic seal registration is just another way USDA is protecting the organic brand and strengthening organic enforcement.