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Common Questions about Ethics Violations and False Advertising

I have submitted an Ethics Charge Statement. What is the next step?

Once your Ethics Charge Statement is received in our office, your information will be reviewed for completion and go under initial review by the Director of Certification. At that time your complaint will be forwarded to the committee to accept/reject, you will be contacted to supply additional information or you will be notified that your complaint does not violate the Code of Ethics.

What if I am not positive that it is an ethical violation?

If you are uncertain, please review the Code of Ethics along with your complaint and evaluate if it constitutes a violation. If you are still uncertain you may submit your complaint, along with all necessary documentation, to ISA and your complaint will be reviewed.

I want to file an ethics complaint but I do not want to reveal my name. Can I do this?

No, it is important to know that your complaint is confidential but your name and complaint information will be shared with the individual being reported.

What are the possible consequences of an ethical violation?

Possible consequences of an ethics violation include:

  • A recommendation to the Director of Certification that the certificant or candidate be ineligible for certification or recertification, and that any application of the respondent for ISA certification be denied;
  • Specific training, supervision, and/or instruction concerning his or her professional activities;
  • Private reprimand and censure, including any conditions or directives;
  • Public reprimand and censure, including any conditions or directives;
  • Certification probation for any period up to three (3) years, including any conditions or directives;
  • Suspension of certification for a period of no less than six (6) months and no more than two (2) years, including any conditions or directives; and,
  • Revocation of certification, including any directives.

How do I report false advertisements or logo misuse?

Please send a completed claim form and a copy of the advertisement you have obtained to our office. It can be in the form of a yellow page ad, business card, or any other paperwork displaying misrepresentation by either an individual or company. Once received, it will be reviewed and course of action will be determined.

I have reported a false advertising claim. What is the next step?

Once your claim is received in the office it will be processed in the order it was received. Your information (proof) will be reviewed and any further investigation will take place to determine the severity of the matter. If it is a violation of our trademark policy the individual (company) will be contacted in order to come into compliance.

Is my information kept confidential?

Yes, we do not release the names of the individuals reporting a false advertising or misuse complaint.

What is the difference between a trademark and a word mark?

A trademark is a distinct design used to identify a product or service, in this case our certification, membership, or ISA Corporate logos. Whereas a word mark is a type of trademark where the trademark owner is claiming rights to the word(s), in this case ‘ISA Certified Arborist’ for example.

What if they list 'Certified Arborist' and not 'ISA Certified Arborist'?

ISA will process the claim just the same because ISA offers the only recognized, national and international, voluntary certification program in the arboriculture profession. As such, the use of the ‘Certified Arborist’ designation creates a significant likelihood of confusion. It is likely that consumers and the general public may be confused by your use of these designations, or mistakenly believe that use of the terms indicate: an endorsement, sponsorship, approval, or accreditation by ISA or the ISA Certification Program; or, that the business is in some manner associated or connected with ISA or the ISA Certification Program. Accordingly, the use of these designations creates, and results in, an impermissible likelihood of confusion among consumers and the public, and thereby produces a certification trademark infringement.

©International Society of Arboriculture 2009-2018
PO Box 3129 • Champaign, IL 61826, USA • +1.217.355.9411

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