What is a Certificate of Conformance?

Definition: A certificate of conformance is a document issued by a relevant authority that validates that certain specifications exist in a given product. It is an official recognition that a product possesses the technical specifications alleged by the manufacturer or seller.

What Does Certificate of Conformance Mean?

Commercial trade is normally based in trust. There is trust involved in any purchase transaction, normally on the buyer’s side, since the individual or company is expecting the other side to deliver exactly what he offered. Nevertheless, certificates of conformance are a commercial tool that allow buyers to safeguard their purchases, by having an authority to back the existence of certain item’s characteristics offered by a given seller. In some countries, these certificates might be issued by specialized institutions or government authorities, depending on the legal framework.

For example, in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission may issue a Certificate of Conformance (CoC) that enable certain telecommunication’s products to be sold to the public. The certificate is granted after the manufacturer or the authorized re-seller has tested the product and has ensured the Commission that the standards required by the institution for those types of products are met.

Example

Wayrless Co. is a company that manufactures antennas to companies in the telecommunications business. The company is currently developing a new product that will be marketed for domestic uses. This product has never been employed before in the United States and in order to be able to sell it, Wayrless has to get the FCC approval. The company started testing the product to evaluate how much it would fit the standards of the Commission about products to be used by regular individuals.

The company found out the antennas caused interference with radio devices located in a range of 200 meters. The FCC reviewed the test and reported that an interference such as that is permissible. Therefore, the company was granted with a Certificate of Conformance (CoC) to sell the antennas in the open market.