Get Recognized Using the ILAC MRA Mark

combined ilac mra symbol

Have you taken a moment to look at other laboratories calibration and test reports? Well, you should. You may have noticed that many laboratories are putting the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark on their reports, and I think you should too.

In this article, I am going explain what the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark is, how to get permission to use it on your reports, and who to contact so you can receive permission. After reading this article, you should able to start using the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark by the end of the week.


What is the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark

The Combined ILAC-MRA Mark is a combination of the ILAC-MRA MARK and your accreditation symbol. The only way to obtain permission to use the combined mark is to enter into a sub-license agreement with your ISO 17025 accreditation body. However, this only works if they are a full member of the ILAC-MRA.

With an agreement in place, you will be allowed to use the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark on your test or calibration reports. However, ILAC has rules that must followed in order to use the mark. These rules can be found in the ILAC R7:09/2009. I suggest you download the document and read it over before deciding whether or not to use the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark.



What Are the Rules

While ILAC has established a set of rules for how their Mark shall be used, the requirements are pretty straightforward. In general, the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark may only be used by;

a. accreditation bodies that are signatories to the ILAC MRA and who have signed a license agreement;
b. organizations accredited by signatories to the ILAC MRA and who have signed a sub-license agreement;
c. Recognized Regional Co-operations


How to Use the Mark

When deciding whether or not you want to use the Mark, consider the authorized options which the Mark may be used. ILAC allows quite a few options that will more than satisfy the majority of laboratories who will want to use the Mark. To get an idea or inspiration, take a look at the list below to see how the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark can be used.

The Combined ILAC-MRA Mark can be used on the following items;
a. Reports
b. Letterhead
c. Fax Coversheet
d. Envelopes
e. Brochures
f. Pop-up banners
g. Posters
h. Newsletters
i. Annual Reports
j. PowerPoint presentations
k. Press releases
l. Advertisements
m. Websites
n. Quotations
o. Email signatures
p. Surveys

If you wish to use the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark in a way that is not mentioned above, contact your accreditation body. They will contact the ILAC Secretariat to ask for approval. Otherwise, here is an example of how I use the ILAC-MRA Mark at ACR Technical Services.

ILAC MRA Symbol Sample

Here is how Agilent Technologies uses the ILAC MRA Mark.

ILAC MRA Symbol Sample Agilent


How Not to Use the Mark

With any rules, there are always things that you are not allowed to do. ILAC has identified the ways that the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark is not authorized for use. While there are not many restrictions, make sure that you do not violate them.

Use of the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark is restricted if;
a. written permission is not received from the Accreditation Body;
b. on business cards, unless you are the staff of an Accreditation Body that is a signatory to the ILAC MRA.


What Colors the Mark Should Be

To use the Mark, ILAC has chosen to limit your color choices. The Combined ILAC-MRA Mark can only be used in black and white or in the approved blue color. For appropriate use, the approved color codes are provided in the image below.



Why You Should Add To Reports

Using the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark is not a requirement. It is completely optional. However, I recommend that you use it; because, it promotes international recognition. Additionally, it provides visual verification (for your customers) that your accreditation body is a signatory to the ILAC MRA.

Many laboratories put symbols on their reports that have nothing to do with accreditation. However, the symbols are typically used to promote compliance with requirements that are important to their customer. If you are testing and calibrating for international organizations, I highly recommend that you use the Combined ILAC-MRA mark.


How to Get Permission

Getting permission to use the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark is really simple, and will only take a few minutes of your time. First, contact your accreditation body, speak with the signatory liaison, and request a sub-license agreement. Next, read and sign the sub-license agreement (if you accept the terms), and submit it to the signatory liaison with an example of how you intend to use the Mark. Afterward, you will receive approval or be notified why your request is not approved.

If your request is denied, do not get angry. Just change the design for how you will use the Mark until it complies with the rules. Then, submit a new request and get approved. It really is not difficult.

If you do not like to read and just want the cliff notes, here is the process breakdown;

1. Contact your Accreditation Body and speak to the signatory liaison;
2. Request a sub-license agreement;
3. Read, accept, and sign the agreement;
4. Submit the signed agreement with a sample of intended use;
5. Obtain approval/permission;
6. Start using the Combined ILAC-MRA Mark.


Signatory Liaisons

Each accreditation body has assigned a signatory liaison to control communication with ILAC regarding the use of the ILAC Mark. Use the list below to find your liaison and get permission to use the Combined ILAC MRA Mark.

Teresa Barnett 301-644-3202

Warren Merkel 301-975-4016

Erica Collins 703-836-0025, ext. 206
Deirdre Kiyonaga 703-836-0025, ext. 210
Julia Singer 703-836-0025, ext. 211

Tracy Szerszen 877-369-5227

Doug Leonard 260-637-2705


The Future of the Mark

After speaking with Tracy at PJLA, Tim at NVLAP, and Teresa at A2LA, the rules for using the Combined ILAC MRA Mark are changing. In the near future, laboratories will be able to use the Mark without being required to sign a sub-license agreement. Accreditation bodies will still need to sign an agreement with ILAC; and, will control how participating accredited laboratories use the Mark. When this change will occur is unknown; but, I have been told that it will be very soon.



Deciding whether or not to use the Combined ILAC MRA Mark is solely up to you and your laboratory. Not all laboratories will participate. It will all depend on the goals of the laboratory and the requirements of your customers. However, if you plan to perform work for international organizations, I highly recommend that you consider adding the Mark to your reports. It will help your laboratory’s work be mutually recognized by your customer’s accreditation body.

If you are using the Combined ILAC MRA Mark, email me an image showing how you use it. I will put it in a future article showing how to use the Mark. It’s a great way to get free advertising!



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About the Author

Richard Hogan

Richard Hogan is the CEO of ISO Budgets, L.L.C., a U.S.-based consulting and data analysis firm. Services include measurement consulting, data analysis, uncertainty budgets, and control charts. Richard is a systems engineer who has laboratory management and quality control experience in the Metrology industry. He specializes in uncertainty analysis, industrial statistics, and process optimization. Richard holds a Masters degree in Engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Connect with Richard on LinkedIn.


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