Verified Mark Certificate Q&A
What is VMC?
VMC stands for Verified Mark Certificate – a certificate that allows companies to render their figurative brand in the receiving email client and/or webmail. To get a VMC, you need to have a registered figurative mark and be able to validate that you are enforcing DMARC standards together with a quarantine policy. At the recipient’s end, the certified logotype ensures that the sender is legitimate.
What is BIMI?
BIMI stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification. It’s a standard that attaches your brand’s logo to your authenticated email messages. With this simple, visual verification, recipients can recognize and trust the messages you send, and it also increases their deliverability. BIMI was in part developed to provide a powerful incentive for brands to adopt DMARC. Simply put, BIMI is the technology required for rendering the logo.
What does VMC do?
VMC is a certificate that validates and guarantees that an organization has the right to use a logotype.
What is DMARC?
DMARC is an abbreviation for “Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance”, which is a protocol that uses SPF and DKIM to determine the authenticity of an email message. This provides a tool for senders to prevent and monitor the misuse of their domain names. The policy validates the authenticity of the sender’s identity and then opts whether the email client should accept or reject the message.
How does the procedure work?
When ordering a VMC certificate, DigiCert validates the organization using the same procedure as for an Extended Validation Certificate. Digicert also makes inquiries about the figurative mark with the relevant trademark authority to ensure the rights to use the logo.
I own a Swedish figurative mark; can I use that?
No, at present you can only use registered figurative marks whose validity can be verified by intellectual property authorities that are affiliated with VMC. The Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) is not yet affiliated with VMC. The currently affiliated intellectual property authorities are the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Canadian Intellectual Property Office, European Union Intellectual Property Office, UK Intellectual Property Office, Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt, Japan Trademark Office, IP Australia.
I only own rights to a word mark, can I use that?
No. Only figurative marks can be used for VMC. Word trademarks and established
(unregistered) trademarks may not be used.
Can I use a trademark that I do not own, but that I have a license for or permission to use?
Yes, if you can present a written certificate from the trademark owner showing that you may use the trademark for VMC. Keep in mind that a certificate is always required if the person applying for VMC is not a trademark holder in the trademark register.
When can I buy a VMC certificate?
The initiative is scheduled to launch at the end of Q4 2020. DigiCert has carried out a successful pilot together with CNN which showed significantly increased open rates. Right now, Google is also implementing a similar pilot project.
How much does a VMC cost?
The cost of implementing a VMC depends on what preparations your organization needs to make. No future price is currently specified for the certificate itself, but there are indications that VMC certificates will be in the same price range as EV certificates. Get in touch and let us look at what preparations you need to make.
Why do we need a VMC?
VMC will become an email standard providing a global framework within the coming years. VMC will not only contribute to a more secure email environment where the recipient of an email can feel confident that the email is legitimate by meeting the security requirements of the BIMI/VMC standard, but it will also lead to increased brand exposure and email deliverability. In other words, VMC will contribute to an emails environment with less spoofing, increased brand recognition, and strengthened customer trust.
Can we include a VMC certificate in an existing certificate?
VMC is a completely independent certificate and cannot be included in an existing certificate.
We have implemented DMARC ourselves, how do we proceed?
Then the next step is to corroborate that you own the rights to a registered figurative mark. If so, we can help you order the VMC certificate and get it issued.
Am I allowed to modify the figurative mark?
The figurative mark must be valid, registered and verified by an intellectual property authority affiliated with VMC. It is then implemented in SVG format (Scalable Vector Graphics) in accordance with current SVG guidelines. The figurative mark must be reproduced in exactly the same way as it was registered. However, it is possible to adjust the size, crop and scale as long as the entire figure mark is still visible, but it is not allowed to change color, background or opacity. Since the majority of logotype exposure areas are expected to have a square or circular aspect ratio, we recommend a centered logo in a square SVG format.
We have several different logos – how can we use them?
Only one logo can be used for each email domain. However, alternative logos can be used for email subdomains. For example, you may have a VMC certificate for domain.com and one for marketing.domain.com.
Our trademarks are managed by another supplier, do we have to transfer them to Ports Group?
No, your trademarks do not necessarily have to be managed by Ports Group. The certificate will still be issued to your company, as long as the correct figurative trademark is registered.
Will our logotype now be visible in all internal emails?
If you have a public DNS lookup and the email client supports VMC, then the VMC certified logo will be visible in all internal emails.
If different people within the company send to the same recipient, will the logotype then be visible in all emails?
Yes, as long as the people within the company are sending from the same VMC certified email domain, your logo will be visible in all emails.