Let’s take a closer look at the guarantees the Seal has to offer.
The process to obtain the collective Quality Seal is very strict, and is the only one that truly safeguards the consumer. The Consortium member manufacturer engineers the design to ensure its compliance with international standards and once the prototype is ready, sends it to the ACCREDIA independent, accredited laboratories where it undergoes detailed testing.
The certificate issued by the laboratory, along with the product’s technical specifications are presented to the Consortium as attachments to the company’s application for permission to use the Seal.
Important note: if the outcome of the process is positive, once permission has been granted to use the Seal, the Consortium periodically verifies that the manufacturer’s production processes also comply with the Consortium’s Regulations to ensure that the qualitative standards are maintained and confirmed over time.
But, in legal terms, what exactly is the Quality Seal?
It is considered a Collective Brand, in other words, a brand that carries with it a certain value. As we know, a corporate brand serves to differentiate the products of one company from those of other companies in the same industrial sector. The collective brand, instead, serves as a guarantee of quality and origin.
The aim is to ensure the end consumer that the product was made in Italy and satisfies the qualitative standards outlined in the European and Italian technical standards for mattresses.
Thus, the Seal ensures that the product exhibits certain characteristics with regard to its:
Origin: origin is a crucial factor in determining the quality of the product;
Nature: quality based on the inherent characteristics of the raw materials employed;
Quality: the current technical requirements for mattresses and the quality standards indicated in the Regulations governing use of the Collective Seal.
Therefore, the Collective Brand is a positive element in terms of consumer safeguarding and is granted only to those mattresses that exceed the qualitative levels set out in the Regulations governing use of the Collective Brand.
It is important to point out that the durability test for mattresses, under UNI EN 1957:2001 standard, was voluntarily expanded by the Consortium to stricter and more selective levels by requiring 45,000 test cycles rather than 30,000; in other words it calls for 50% more cycles than required by the standard itself.
The Regulation for use is the Consortium’s most basic document.
In fact, it is the document upon which the application for registration is based. It was deposited with the Chamber of Commerce in Milan at the same time the Collective Brand was registered.
Article 11 of the CPI (Industrial Property Code – Legislative Decree No10 dated Feb 2005 as modified by Legislative Decree No. 131/8/2010, fully reflecting art. 2570 of the Civil Code states:
"The subjects whose function is to guarantee the origin, nature or quality of certain products or services may register collective brands, and may allow their use, in compliance with their respective regulations, by producers or dealers."
The Regulation contains clauses regarding the use and granting of the collective brand, verification of company manufacturing processes and products, qualitative levels and sanctions. Attached to it are the production regulations for mattresses for home use for adults, children, and hotels and communities. The regulations require that the components used comply with current laws and/or standards and must be accompanied by the declarations of compliance issued by the provider.
Initial audit to assess the company’s organization and corporate management system (sales and marketing procedures + purchasing procedures + production procedures) -> carried out by the Consortium.
Laboratory tests on mattresses applying for the collective brand -> conducted at accredited “ACCREDIA” labs;
Supervisory audit of the company’s management system -> carried out by the Consortium;
Inspection of raw materials and + production inspections -> validated by the Auditor during Supervisory visits;
Laboratory tests on mattresses randomly sampled from retailers by the Consortium -> conducted by accredited “ACCREDIA” labs;
For each new product that will use the collective brand, the licensee must carry out the laboratory tests and document the merchandise and qualitative features of the raw and partially-processed materials utilized. Furthermore, company websites - newspaper/magazine ads – catalogs and brochures are constantly monitored to verify proper handling of customer communications.
In such a highly-regulated scenario, the advantage for consumers is that they are safeguarded throughout the selection and purchasing process – certified mattresses have higher quality standards, are manufactured by companies whose manufacturing facilities are located in Italy, and are oriented toward the development of innovative products made with the most suitable materials and compliant with the current standards and voluntary processes in use.
The quality seal is printed on a cloth label that bears a serial number for product tracking and is sewn into mattresses that have been granted certification by the Consortium.
The quality seal is an additional document that comes with the mattress and guarantees that the product was manufactured by a Consortium member company.
The context in which the collective brand standards exist includes the following standards:
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