To Show or Not to Show the CE Mark in a Product Offer?

Avatar for Martijn Hoogeveen
How to Fully Mitigate IPR, CE mark, legal risks

A few days ago we got a question from one of our long-term clients active in the Belgian market whether to display the CE mark or not. They were approached by a Belgian public prosecutor. He demands webshops to show CE marks on their online product information. However, that seems to be ill-advised or at least contradictory in the European context.

Why is that? Because the display of a CE mark in online and offline advertisements is prohibited. Given that the commercial display of the mark is misleading. It is not a promotional or quality label. For this reason, most webshops don’t show the CE mark on their sales-oriented product pages, and we dropped the mark from product data-sheets already many years ago. Even for products for which CE marks are obligatory. According to official EU information, the CE mark for products in specified categories must be clearly visible on the product, on its packaging, or in accompanying manufacturer documents. And, that should thus be sufficient.

The Belgian prosecutor, however, likes to see the CE mark in webshops as he is checking products there and because there is no central EU database for CE certifications. A huge omission. So no online check is possible on product-level.

How to respond to such a prosecutor’s questions?

What to do when you get questions about CE marks? Firstly, ask the appropriate distributor for its CE information. Since it is usually on the box, a photo of the packaging is sufficient. Otherwise, ask brands for the CE information or the “accompanying documents” containing the CE mark. Here, Icecat plays a role.

We could think of a solution where CE certificates are in separate PDFs, as “accompanying information,” so that webshops can choose how they want to present them in a way that it can not be seen as “advertisement.”

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