January 20, 2022

NIOSH Registers Respirator Certification Marks with Patent and Trademark Office

NIOSH has registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the agency’s stylized logo with and without text; the certification marks N95, N99, N100, P95, and P100; and the term “NIOSH-approved,” according to a notice published recently on the website of the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL). Now that these marks are registered with the USPTO as federal registrations as well as in several other countries, they are subject to trademark laws in the United States and elsewhere they are registered. (NIOSH’s respirator certification marks were historically protected under common law rather than trademark registration.) The agency’s announcement stresses that NIOSH controls who can use these marks. NIOSH says it will allow manufacturers to use the certification marks only if they become NIOSH approval holders because their products satisfy the regulatory standards outlined in 42 CFR Part 84, which addresses certification requirements for respiratory protective devices.

“Any misuse of these marks, including on respirators that have failed to satisfy NIOSH’s regulatory requirements or have not received a NIOSH approval, is a direct violation of applicable trademark laws and NIOSH may pursue action as necessary,” the agency explains. “This also applies to approval holders that misuse or misplace the marks or terms against the regulations.”

The full announcement can be found on NPPTL’s website.