Want to advertise PASMA training to your customers but don’t want to become a PASMA member? The short answer is, you can’t.
In the context of training, only PASMA members can use the PASMA logo, or even just the word ‘PASMA’. If you aren’t a PASMA member, offering or even just advertising PASMA training will always infringe our Registered Collective and International Trademarks. This applies even if:
You’ll be asking a PASMA Training Member to run the course
You’ve got an agreement with a PASMA member to promote training on their behalf
You consider it ‘free advertising’ for PASMA
You’re trying to test demand before applying for membership
You’re only using the word PASMA, not the logo
You’ve seen other companies doing it
In other words, there are no exceptions. You must become a PASMA Training Member before you offer PASMA training to your customers, or potential customers. We hope you’ll decide that membership is worth the effort – we’d love to have you as part of the association. If you do go ahead and advertise our training without joining first, we’ll have no choice but to take legal action against you for damages.
Since 2013, we have contacted over 170 organisations regarding the misuse of the PASMA name and logo and spent more than £125,000 successfully defending our marks. We proactively monitor the market and regularly receive reports from members and others who have seen a non-member offering PASMA training. We also investigate fully whenever a delegate contacts us in relation to training that they booked through a non-member organisation. We go to these lengths to protect our members, our reputation and our trademarks.
Defending our trademarks isn’t the most enjoyable part of our day, but it’s essential. There are several reasons for this:
PASMA is the leading expert on the safe use of mobile access towers, prefabricated tower scaffolds and low level work platforms and our training scheme for these products is the best in the industry. Thousands of delegates are trained each year through a select network of approved training centres, using accredited instructors. All PASMA training centres are audited annually to ensure they continue to meet the stringent standards we set and provide a comfortable, well-equipped environment for training. If non-members offer PASMA training, we have no control over the quality or consistency of the training they provide.
When people search the internet for PASMA training and find courses advertised by non-members, it’s highly likely they’ll think they’re booking directly with an approved PASMA Training Member. They’ve got no reason to suspect that the company is actually selling training that they themselves are not accredited or qualified to provide. This often results in delegates contacting us looking for their training records. They’ve paid money for a course and are sometimes months later left with no evidence they have successfully completed the course. This is not fair and we don’t want it happening in our name.
The PASMA brand has a reputation in the UK and internationally. Using our trademarks without due cause takes unfair advantage of, and can even be detrimental to, their distinctive character and repute. If you own a trademark, you must diligently protect it from infringement and other misuse, such as passing off. If you do not enforce your rights, your mark may weaken, lose its distinctiveness and ultimately, you may lose the right to use it or defend it.
One reason why PASMA training is so good is because it benefits from the collective industry-wide insights, experience and knowledge of our members. We need companies who offer PASMA training (and benefit from the work that has been done by others) to contribute financially – and ideally personally – to the development and maintenance of the scheme, so that it can continue to evolve and improve. Being a member of PASMA is something to be proud of but it’s also a commitment. The ability to offer PASMA training is a privilege that must be reserved for our members.
PASMA has acquired goodwill and reputation in a number of trade names and marks including, among others, the name and collective trademark “PASMA”.
In addition, PASMA is a registered proprietor of various UK, EU and International Trade Marks, including the word ‘PASMA’ and our logo/device mark.
It’s also worth noting that our training course materials and courses themselves are protected by Copyright. This helps protect the hard work of everyone who has poured their time, knowledge and expertise into them over the years and prevents anyone creating sub-standard imitations.
So, do you want to offer PASMA training to your customers? Apply to become a member >>
Report any non-member actively offering PASMA training or purporting to be a PASMA member.
An existing Hirer/Dealer Member was found to advertise PASMA training on their website without being an approved Training Member or having an approved training centre.
An existing Hirer/Dealer Member had been registered as a member of PASMA in the Hirer/Dealer category for over a decade and, as such, was well aware of our Licence to use our Registered Trade Marks. It came to our attention that this company had started offering PASMA training services on their website without having the necessary approval as a registered Training Member.
We contacted the member to clarify that only approved Training Members with approved training centres were permitted to offer PASMA training. We requested the removal of any references to PASMA training from their website and advised them to upgrade their membership by applying for Training membership.
Initially, the company removed the word “PASMA” from their training advertisements but continued to promote aluminium tower training. Our PASMA Membership Terms & Conditions clearly state that if a company’s business specifically includes training, they are obligated to register as a Training Member. In response, we invited the company to either apply for training membership or confirm in writing that they had ceased advertising tower training.
Following our response, the company removed all references to tower training from their website. They later decided to apply for Training membership, enabling them to expand their business and generate income from training services.
PASMA’s Membership Terms & Conditions state that we reserve the right to determine the membership categories based on the nature of a member company’s business and the services they offer. Being a member in any other category does not grant the company permission to offer PASMA training services. Only PASMA Approved Training Members with Approved Training Centres are permitted to offer or provide PASMA training.
The use of our Registered Trade Marks is only authorised for members in accordance with our Licence to Use International Trade Marks, PASMA’s Membership Criteria, our Brand Guidelines and Code of Conduct. Unauthorised use of these marks is subject to investigation, which may result in membership suspension or termination.
This case highlights the importance of adhering to PASMA’s guidelines and terms, ensuring only authorised members can provide training services.
An online retailer selling unauthorised ‘PASMA trained’ stickers raises concerns.
It was brought to our attention that a company was selling PASMA labelled products through an online marketplace. The products included, among others, stickers with a PASMA logo and the words ‘PASMA trained’.
We instructed our solicitors to contact the online retailer, clearly outlining the infringements. Our solicitors stressed that the products featured marks identical to our registered trademarks, potentially causing confusion among the public regarding any association between PASMA and the retailer. The online retailer was issued an order to cease selling all infringing products and to provide signed undertakings confirming their compliance.
The online retailer was taking advantage of PASMA’s reputation in using the name and trademarks to sell products. Also, by supplying products to customers who were not verified as having successfully completed a PASMA training course, could give the PASMA mark an unfavourable connotation. The PASMA name and logo are registered trademarks which can only be used by registered PASMA member companies, in the manner in which we prescribe in our terms and conditions. The ‘PASMA trained’ logo can only be used by those who have been verified as having successfully achieved the correct PASMA qualification by attending and passing a PASMA Towers for Users training course. To obtain approval to use the PASMA Trained Logo, companies must be able to provide objective evidence that their employees hold a valid PASMA Towers for Users qualification, and the strict approval process ensures it is used appropriately. Even better, we provide the PASMA Tower Trained stickers free of charge.
A newly established company using our name and displaying a logo remarkably similar ours.
A PASMA member contacted us for advice after they had been approached by a company proposing to work in partnership to offer PASMA training to their clients. This was a recently established company, registered with Companies House, and included the word ‘PASMA’ in the name and therefore gave the impression that it was affiliated with us in some way. In addition, the company’s website domain included the word ‘PASMA’, there were several references to PASMA on the website and it displayed a logo which was remarkably similar to the PASMA logo.
We immediately contacted our solicitors instructing them to take action, objecting to the company name and to the use of our marks on the company website and registered domain name, all of which infringed our intellectual property rights and were likely to mislead the public.
Although the company did not say that they were offering PASMA training themselves, they did state that they were partnering with PASMA approved training members. PASMA members do not have the authority to permit third parties to use PASMA’s marks and cannot facilitate training for non-member companies.
The company were asked to sign undertakings to cease and desist from the use of the marks on their website and to remove them from all other materials and social media accounts. Our solicitors also pursued damages and payment of legal costs incurred.
The company subsequently changed its registered company name and created a new website domain, however, still used the word PASMA and a logo that was very similar to ours. In addition, the new website still forwarded users to another website containing the word ‘PASMA’ in the registered domain.
After further contact from our solicitors, the company was dissolved, thus precluding the need for further action.
Although PASMA were not able to recover damages in this case, it is worth noting that any unauthorised use of the PASMA name and logo will result in robust action. In this case, any future infringement by the company or its director, or any company associated with the director, would result in an order to restrain further use, financial compensation for all unauthorised use, current or historic, in addition to payment of legal costs in full.
A training company fraudulently issues training cards with the PASMA logo.
We were notified by a PASMA instructor that delegates had arrived for a Cantilever Towers course saying they had completed a Towers for Users qualification. They showed operator cards with a PASMA logo on them, but when we searched for the delegates on our records, their qualifications could not be found.
Further investigation found that the company which had issued the cards claimed to be associated with PASMA on their website but were not a PASMA member.
We instructed our solicitors to contact the company to confirm that they cannot use the PASMA name or logo in this way and cannot claim to be associated with us. In addition to the intellectual property infringement, our solicitors included an allegation of fraud by false representation, given that the company’s cards with the PASMA logo constituted a dishonest false representation made with the intention of making a gain for themselves.
The company director admitted to using PASMA’s logo without authorisation, which amounted to both infringement of PASMA’s intellectual property rights and fraud in that the PASMA logo was used to certify delegates in the category of Tower and that the website did represent that the company were associated with PASMA.
The company had to pay a substantial sum in damages and their website was updated to remove the association with PASMA. The company also had to invalidate the certificates of competence for the delegates.
Issuing cards with the PASMA logo without permission and purporting to be associated with PASMA infringes our trademark and has serious consequences.
Having a PASMA training qualification does not allow a person to teach the course to others or to use the PASMA logo, which is only authorised to be used by our approved Training Members.
If unsure about the validity of a PASMA card or training certificate, the PASMA Check a Card tool on our website can be used to verify a qualification.
A registered member risks their own membership to provide a loophole for a non-member company to profit from our training scheme.
We received a membership application from a company in 2011 to register as an Associate member. Following a review of their website we contacted the Directors to confirm that they didn’t meet the membership criteria of Associate member. Due to the nature of their business, we could only accept an application as a Training Member. The company withdrew their application.
In 2015, we became aware that this company was using our logo and brand name to advertise PASMA training courses. We wrote to the Directors who responded to confirm all references to PASMA and PASMA training had been removed from their website.
In 2019, we received another membership application from the company to register as Associate member. We engaged with them once more to confirm they must meet the criteria of Training Member to be accepted as a member of the association. Once again, the application was withdrawn.
In 2021, it was brought to our attention that the company were once again offering “Towers for Users” courses on their website and working with an Approved Training Member to deliver the courses to their clients.
We had been in contact with the training provider over a period of 10 years. It was now time to ensure this repeated breach of our Registered Trademark would not continue. The steps we took included:
During our investigations we were able to identify the Approved Training Member facilitating training for the non-member company, and the Approved Training Centre where the training courses were being delivered. We confirmed that they were in breach of our Training Procedures, Centre Procedures, Membership Terms and Conditions and our Code of Conduct.
We removed the Approved status of the Training Centre with immediate effect and confirmed that the Approved Training Member was no longer permitted to offer PASMA training from this location. Members may not register a location as an Approved Centre if the purpose or effect of that application is the evasion of registration of the location as an Approved Centre by a third party.
We informed the non-member company that PASMA Approved Training Members were no longer permitted to book PASMA training at their location.
The Directors of the non-member company wanted to open discussions regarding membership. We reiterated whilst we would be happy to accept a membership application from them, it must be in the Training Member category.
We received signed undertakings from the company along with a membership application to register as a PASMA Approved Training Member which was subsequently approved by Council.
The training provider wanted to offer PASMA training to their clients through PASMA Approved Training Members or as an Associate Member. They tried to find an alternative route to avoid paying the appropriate membership and audit fees. Over a ten-year period, we were in contact with the Directors on several occasions to confirm that this is not permitted.
The Approved Training Member was not only in breach of our Procedures, but they were devaluing the PASMA membership. They put their own membership in jeopardy by risking disciplinary action in order to provide a loophole for a non-member company to profit from our training scheme without taking the necessary steps to complete the membership and training centre approval process and ongoing audits.
Non-member companies cannot enter into an agreement with any Approved Training Centres which will allow them to advertise or offer to provide PASMA training which is not in breach of our Registered Trademarks. If you wish to offer PASMA training to your customers, or prospective customers, the only route is to apply to become a PASMA Training Member.
We became aware that a training provider in the North West of England was using our logo and brand name to advertise PASMA training courses. They were not a PASMA member, so we wrote and asked them to remove the references. Later, our solicitor wrote and made the same request. Eventually, they complied. However, two years later, the same company was again advertising PASMA training courses. We again asked for them to be removed, but this time it didn’t happen.
We instructed our solicitors to pursue this training provider for damages. The company had a sole director and shareholder who we also brought action against personally. The steps we took included:
The following year, the case was heard in court. The judge awarded us damages amounting to over £21,000 and granted an injunction preventing the defendants (said training provider and director) from infringing our Registered Trademarks again, even if this director starts a new business. An attached penal notice means that they can be imprisoned if they disobey. We were also granted permission to apply for our costs.
With our court order secured, we had to arrange for papers to be served to the defendants in person. To do this, we engaged agents to undertake surveillance, home visits and speak to neighbours. We also engaged agents to undertake surveillance regarding the director’s employment.
With papers successfully served, we requested payment and proposed a payment plan. Unfortunately, this was not effective. So, we made a request for the director to be questioned about their finances by a court officer at a hearing, both on their own behalf and in their capacity as a director of said training provider. After this, the matter was resolved to our satisfaction.
The training provider believed they should be entitled to promote PASMA training courses using our Registered Trademarks because they were only a small company and were apparently acting as a ‘sales agent’ for Approved Training Centres.
We hear excuses like this all the time. It’s either that or ‘you should be pleased we’re giving you free advertising’, ‘but it’s only the word PASMA, it’s not like we’re using your logo’ or ‘we want to test the market before we pay to become members’. Sometimes these organisations simply decide not to engage with us or our solicitors at all. None of these factors change the fact that using our Registered Trademarks without our permission is illegal and as this case study proves, there are consequences for doing so.
Defending ourselves against trademark infringement is essential to protect our members, our reputation, our work, our brand and the trust that the public has in the name PASMA. We cannot afford for our brand to be devalued or damaged. When individuals or businesses steal our intellectual property, we have no choice but to pursue them via all available routes, for as long as it takes.
We became aware that a training and consultancy company in South West England were using our brand name to advertise PASMA training courses on their website, and contacted them immediately to respectfully request that they remove references to PASMA from their site within seven days, and to cease offering PASMA training.
This company initially queried our decision to contact them, advising us that they did not deliver any training themselves and were actually providing a broker service. Despite having their own purpose built training centre, they claimed that PASMA training was always delivered by PASMA Approved Training Members, and that it was never their intention to mislead members of the public. They also made claims that as a broker, they were making a beneficial contribution towards PASMA and its members by providing delegates with training. We responded to them and advised the following;
We clearly explained again to the company that the only way to offer PASMA training is as a PASMA Approved Training Member, which they were not.
After hearing nothing from the company for another month, PASMA sought legal action, on the grounds that it had suffered loss and damage following said company’s misrepresentation that they were able to provide PASMA training, and their inaction to remove it from their website in over a month since we initially made contact. Our solicitors wrote to them, and eventually PASMA secured substantial financial compensation and legal costs from their directors, as well as signed undertakings that they would not use our marks unlawfully again, or else PASMA would seek immediate legal action to defend them.
This company was advised several times by us that it was not permissible to offer PASMA training, either directly in their own purpose built training centre, or in-directly as a broker. We clarified that joining PASMA as a Training Member is the only way to provide PASMA training to their own clients, and that PASMA’s marks are protected. Although protecting our marks is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that only approved members can use them, we also strongly encourage anyone who is interested in PASMA membership to apply, which they declined. It is of the highest importance to PASMA that delegates receive the highest quality of service from members of the association who have gone through a thorough application and approval process, and paid thousands of pounds of fees to be able to offer our flagship courses, who are regularly audited, and approved to use our marks. We will always take steps to ensure that our marks are not misrepresented by companies such as this company and that only Approved Members can provide our training.
The Director of this company was previously registered as an Associate member which entitled them to deliver PASMA training courses as a freelance instructor on behalf of PASMA Approved Training Centres. We became aware that this company was now set up as a training organisation and the instructor was offering training to their own customers. We contacted said company to confirm they must upgrade their membership to Training Member and register as an Approved Training Centre to meet our membership criteria. This resulted in them resigning from PASMA membership and removing all references to PASMA and PASMA training from their website. However, several years later the same company was again promoting PASMA training courses via their social media channels.
As a former member of the association, they were under no misapprehension that offering PASMA training as a non-member is a breach of our Registered Trademarks. The steps we took included:
Our Regional Auditor conducted an unscheduled audit at an Approved Satellite Training Centre to discover the delegates on the course were in fact customers of this former Associate member. We confirmed with the Approved Training Member that this location could no longer be registered as an Approved Satellite Training Centre as it was in breach of our Centre Procedures. We reminded them that Training Members are not permitted to facilitate training for non-members. They now faced disciplinary action which could result in the expulsion from membership.
We rescinded the approval status of the registered Satellite Training Centre. The member is no longer permitted to offer training at this location until such times as said former Associate member registers as an Approved Training Member in their own right.
We received signed undertakings from the former Associate member to confirm they had removed all references to PASMA and PASMA training from their website and social media channels and to confirm payment of substantial financial compensation and legal costs owed to PASMA.
This former Associate member believed they shouldn’t need to pay the fees to register as an Approved Training Member as they only conduct a small number of courses each month. They thought it was acceptable to enter into an agreement with an Approved Training Member to deliver PASMA training courses for them on their behalf and register their premises as a Satellite Training Centre for that member.
Their excuse was that the training was still being conducted by an Approved Training Member and therefore bona fide PASMA training was being delivered to their clients. This does not entitle a non-member to offer PASMA training. To uphold the integrity of our Training Scheme, we must ensure that all training providers are assessed and audited to meet the PASMA membership and training centre criteria.
The Approved Training Member was not only in breach of our Procedures but they were devaluing the PASMA membership. They put their own membership in jeopardy by risking disciplinary action in order to provide a loophole for a non-member company to profit from our training scheme without taking the necessary steps and costs to complete the membership and training centre approval process and ongoing audits.
Defending ourselves against trademark infringement is essential to protect our members, our reputation, our work, our brand and the trust that the public has in the name PASMA. We cannot afford for our brand to be devalued or damaged.
We are seeking the help of our Members to help protect the PASMA brand by bringing to our attention any non-member companies who are advertising PASMA training so that we can defend our intellectual property.