Verified Mark Certificates (VMCs) are a key way to both stand out in the inbox and provide a visual indicator of the brand. VMCs are a part of the Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) initiative and launched in July 2021. Since then, companies globally have utilized VMCs to demonstrate their brand in emails, even before the email is opened.
Over the past two years, adoption of VMC has grown. Now, DigiCert is proud to offer VMCs in six additional trademark countries and government marks in over 30 countries worldwide.
A government mark is a symbol used by government agencies to represent their organization. On the other hand, a registered trademark is a legally protected symbol or design used by a business to identify its products or services. A registered trademark must be unique and distinguishable from other trademarks, and its owner has the exclusive right to use it in commerce. The main difference between the two is that a government mark represents the authority of a government branch or agency, while a registered trademark represents the brand identity of a business.
The reason that government marks for VMC were added later is that government marks presented a unique challenge. For VMCs based on trademarks, the trademark provides strong assurances that the VMC owner has the right to use the logo. Trademarks are how private organizations register and protect their logo, but for government agencies the logo is often specified and protected differently — for example, by being authorized and protected by government legislation. In some cases, there is no trademark registration for the associated seal or logo.
Thus, VMC requirements were updated to allow VMCs to be issued in these cases, by referencing the enabling legislation instead of a trademark filing. Instead of presenting a trademark registration, government entities present their enabling legislation — the law or government record that grants the logo to the agency. This allows government agencies to get VMCs for their official seals. Thus, government agencies can now display their official logo/seal in the inbox, providing a legitimate indicator that constituents are often familiar with.
Government marks are eligible for a VMC everywhere VMC trademarks are currently recognized and in all EU countries.
Currently, VMC certificate guidelines officially recognize the following intellectual property offices:
If you don’t have a trademark, you can start the process to gain one to become eligible for a VMC. Furthermore, the VMC working group is continually looking for ways to expand the availability of VMCs so that more companies can present a visual indicator of their identity in email. DigiCert is active in the working group and we will share updates on the DigiCert blog as new opportunities for VMC adoption.