The NIJ Compliance Testing Program’s (NIJ CTP) goal is to improve criminal justice practitioners’ confidence about the products they own and about how those products meet applicable requirements and perform as expected. To achieve this goal, the NIJ CTP must evaluate products independently and communicate the evaluation results to practitioners.
Although the NIJ CTP maintains a list of compliant products for practitioners to reference, additional reliance has been placed on a specific statement of compliance that manufacturers apply to compliant products. Unfortunately, some manufacturers that have not demonstrated product compliance to the NIJ CTP or have not participated in its surveillance program imitate this NIJ CTP statement of compliance. In the past, this misleading practice created false perceptions about the NIJ CTP compliance status of individual products, which then created difficulty for practitioners when attempting to make informed decisions.
Controlling the false application and imitation of the NIJ statement of compliance has proven to be difficult. Fortunately, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows product certification bodies—similar to the NIJ CTP—to register certification marks. An NIJ certification mark registered with the USPTO provides a more controlled and recognizable vehicle for the NIJ CTP to use when communicating a product’s compliance status because this mark offers additional tools to protect against its misuse. As of November 12, 2019, the NIJ mark is registered with the USPTO under Registration Number 5,906,126.
The NIJ Certification mark appears below:
When a manufacturer applies the NIJ mark to a specific product, they are attesting that the product (1) represents the same design and construction that the NIJ CTP reviewed during initial evaluation and testing and (2) was constructed under the oversight of the follow-up inspection and testing (FIT) surveillance program.
The NIJ mark is currently in use by ballistic-resistant body armor manufacturers only and may be used only on specific models that have both demonstrated compliance with NIJ Standard-0101.06 and participated in the FIT surveillance program.
Additionally, the mark may be placed on a product only if the mark is adjacent to the following information:
- Name, logo, or other identification of the listed company (as identified on the Compliant Product List) near the top of the label
- Model designation as it appears on the Notice of Compliance
- Applicable standard (NIJ Standard-0101.06) as it appears on the Notice of Compliance
- Rated level of protection and reference to the standard (including edition) defining this level of protection
- Size (if custom fitted, provision for the name of the individual for whom it is made)
- Serial number
- Lot number
- Location of manufacture
- Date of manufacture
- Length of manufacturer’s warranty period for ballistic performance of the model with the originally declared threat level
- Point of contact for information concerning the warranty
- If applicable, a warning that the armor is not intended to protect the wearer from rifle fire
- If applicable, a warning that the armor is not intended to protect the wearer from sharp-edged or pointed instruments
- Proper orientation of the ballistic panel in the carrier clearly identified to indicate strike face or body side
- Care instructions for ballistic material in accordance with the current 16 CFR 423, Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel & Certain Piece Goods.
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