Trademark Use Policy

This policy governs use of PEI trademarks, including certification marks, registered or not (“marks” or “trademarks”).  Any applicant for PEI document certification agrees to the terms in this policy as a condition of using any PEI trademark.  As used in this policy, “person” includes entities such as corporations.

1. PEI Trademarks

PEI owns trademarks that include:

  • Plain English Institute™
  • The Plain English Institute™
  • PEI™
  • Plain English Certified™
  • Plain English Certified Document™
  • Plain English Certified Writer™
  • Plain English Certified Lawyer™
  • PEI Certified™
  • PEI Certified Document™
  • PEI Certified Writer™
  • Plain English Certified Lawyer™
  • PEI’s certification mark, U.S. Registration No. 5,936,010:
  • All or any portion of this PEI logo:
    Plain English Institute Logo

2. Prohibited Use

  1. No person may use any PEI trademark containing “certified,” except in connection with the specific certified document or other certification PEI issued.
  2. No person may use any PEI trademark in violation of this policy or PEI’s Terms of Use.

3. License

  1. PEI grants each person that obtains PEI certification for a document a non-exclusive license to use its registered certification mark (U.S. Reg. No. 5,936,010, shown above), Plain English Certified™, Plain English Certified Document™, PEI Certified™, and PEI Certified Document™ in accordance with this policy.  A person that obtains certification for a document may use these marks on the document itself, in other materials that refer to the document, and for marketing.
  2. If PEI certifies a document, the applicant may use any of the marks listed in paragraph 3(a) without charge for the remainder of that calendar year. In subsequent years, the applicant must pay an Annual License Fee.
  3. Any person using any of the marks listed in paragraph 3(a) must use the ® or ™ symbol, as appropriate, and indicate that PEI owns the mark.
  4. Any person using any of the marks listed in paragraph 3(a) on a website must include a link to PEI’s homepage.
  5. Material changes to a certified document void the certification unless PEI re-certifies the document in writing.
  6. PEI’s Terms of Use apply to this license.
  7. PEI’s marks may appear near other trademarks or logos, but must remain distinct to avoid confusion concerning the source of the certification, and to avoid the appearance that PEI is associated with the applicant or others.

4. Assignment

Permission to use PEI’s certification marks is limited to the person that obtained the certification.  No person may assign any PEI certification to any other person, except that a person that obtained the “Plain English Certified Document” certification for a specific document may assign the certification for that document if (1) there have been no material changes to the document; (2) the assignor notifies PEI in writing or electronically; (3) the assignor pays the assignment fee to PEI; and (4) the assignee agrees in writing to the terms in this policy and PEI’s Terms of Use.

5. Submit all questions concerning use of PEI’s certification marks to PEI in writing or via email to

5. Reporting Responsibilities

Any person holding any PEI certification must promptly report the unauthorized use of a PEI certification, misuse of a PEI certification, or other violation of this policy to PEI in writing or by email to

6. Violations

PEI takes violations of this policy seriously and will take any action it deems appropriate to protect its trademarks.  When PEI becomes aware of a possible violation, it will generally (but is not required to) follow this procedure:

  1. PEI will investigate the alleged violation.
  2. If PEI believes there has been a violation, PEI will notify the person that violated the policy in writing or via email.  The notice will include the nature of the alleged violation and a request that the person or entity remedy the violation.  The person or entity then has seven days to respond in writing or via email to PEI may deem the response acceptable or work with the person to resolve the issue.  As part of any resolution, PEI may require the person to enter into an agreement with PEI to take corrective action and/or to take or refrain from taking certain actions in the future.  As part of any resolution, PEI may require the person or entity to pay an amount to PEI to compensate PEI for the resources used in resolving the issue.
  3. If the person does not respond to PEI’s notice, or if the response is not satisfactory to PEI, PEI may take one or more of these actions:
    1. PEI may withdraw or suspend the certification(s) of the person and any associated license;
    2. PEI may direct the person to take certain actions within a specified time under threat of additional discipline;
    3. Suspension or withdrawal of a certification or license does not preclude PEI from seeking injunctive relief or damages.  PEI may file a civil action in Boulder County, Colorado.  Any person uses any PEI mark consents to the exercise of personal and subject matter jurisdiction by the courts in Boulder County.
    4. If PEI withdraws or suspends any certification or license, PEI will not refund any fees paid by the person.

7. Modifications

PEI may modify this policy at any time. Changes PEI will promptly post an updated version of this policy on its website when it modifies this policy. Modifications are effective when posted.

8. Legal Action / Venue / Attorney’s Fees / Costs / Waiver of Jury

  1. The exclusive venue for any legal action between PEI (including its directors, officers, employees, and agents) and any person alleged to have violated this policy shall be in the County or District Court of Boulder County, Colorado.  Any person that obtains any PEI certification or that uses in PEI mark consents to personal and subject matter jurisdiction over them in Boulder County.  All parties waive their right to have any such dispute heard in federal court to fullest extent the law allows, and specifically waive diversity jurisdiction. If federal jurisdiction is mandatory, it shall be in the U.S. District Court for Colorado in Denver.  In any such action, all parties waive trial by jury.  If PEI prevails in any such action, the losing party must pay PEI’s attorney’s fees and costs. Nothing in this policy prevents PEI from filing a legal action in any other jurisdiction to seek injunctive relief or to register and enforce a judgment obtained in Colorado.
  2. If a person has a dispute with PEI concerning use of any of PEI’s marks, before filing any action, that person must provide PEI with written notice of the dispute in sufficient detail that PEI can intelligently evaluate it.  If the parties cannot resolve the dispute within fourteen days of such notice, PEI may, at its option, require the person to participate in non-binding mediation in Boulder, Colorado, with each party to pay one-half of the mediation costs.


9. Notice

If this policy requires or allows notice to PEI, notice must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to The Plain English Institute, P.O. Box 19192, Boulder, CO 80308, or by email to