If you are here, chances are that you are aware that BIMI requires a Verified Mark Certificate.
In order to obtain a verified mark certificate, your logo needs to have been trademarked.
What is a Verified Mark Certificate?
Verified Mark Certificates (VMCs) are a type of certificate that allows email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL to present logos in email inboxes. VMCs are a part of the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standard. They are like SSL certificates, in that the company acquiring the SSL certificate needs to verify their ownership of the domain name, similarly "Verified Mark" signifies that the trademarked logo is verified by an "MVA" or Mark Verifying Authority.
Can I buy a Verified Mark Certificate?
You absolutely can. BUT and this is a big but! Your logo needs to have been trademarked at one of the following trademark or intellectual property offices:
To check whether your logo is trademarked at one of the Intellectual Property or Trademark offices that are currently accepted by the MVAs - please check their respective websites or check here on the WIPO trademark checker.
What you are looking for is that your trademark carries the ‘®’ symbol that indicates a registered trademark + It is registered at one of recognised trademark offices.
IF not, then your logo is not eligible for a VMC, and therefore not elegible for BIMI currently.
My logo is not trademarked. What next?
The next step is to speak with your legal team or a trademark attorney about getting it registered. If not, then please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to ascertain your eligibility and the easiest way to get BIMI delivered for you. More trademark offices are likely to get added to this list, and this can be checked real time by our team of BIMI experts.
Can I register my trademark?
Here is an easy to follow video from the USPTO on how to prepare to file your trademark, and to ascertain if your logo can be trademarked.
For UK Customers: https://www.gov.uk/how-to-register-a-trade-mark
Please consult with a trademark attorney to determine if your logo can be trademarked in the offices currently approved. More trademark offices are likely to be added, but in the meantime, get your domain ready for DMARC, and ensure that you are able to reach the quarantine or reject state, i.e enforcement state on DMARC.
Why is a registered trademark required in the first place?
In order to show the logo in the email inbox, it is important to ensure that the domain owner has undertaken the necessary steps to ensure their email is authenticated before sending. Once this is ascertained with the help of the DMARC protocol, the next important aspect is ascertaining that the 'owner' of the logo is legitimate and they own the logo that is to be displayed.
A trademarked logo is hard to spoof because it is deemed verified by the trademark offices currently approved. The BIMI standard has the checks and balances in place to ensure that only legitimate logo use is permitted, with due vetting prior to displaying the logos.
How can we help with this?
Our BIMI experts are available to help ascertain whether you are eligible - both to check your trademark status as well as assist in achieving the DMARC enforcement mode. Since we are one of the few organisations that truly understand DMARC, BIMI, SPF and DKIM - we can help your brand achieve BIMI in record time.