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When something is labeled as "professional grade" should we take it to mean there is some classification or ranking system in place? Or might this label simply mean the product is good enough to meet the needs of a pro?

How strict is the definition of "grade" here?

I'm trying to understand whether this a fact-based term or an opinion-based term.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a legal question asking for requirements not for language definitions. – AndyT Jun 23 '17 at 11:00
  • @AndyT I didn't intend it as a legal question. I've revised the wording to make it more clear that I'm concerned with the meaning and usage. – Mentalist Jun 23 '17 at 11:14
  • It is still off topic, I'm afraid. Either there are requirements, in which case it's a legal question, or it's down to opinions in which case it is "primarily opinion based". – AndyT Jun 23 '17 at 11:17
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    Generally speaking, in the US it means nothing. It might mean that the item is better quality, but it's entirely up to the vendor to make that call. – Hot Licks Jun 23 '17 at 11:21
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    It usually means one thing to the vendor and something else to the consumer. – Davo Jun 23 '17 at 12:26
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Professional grade (or commercial grade) is a term to distinguish from general use or consumer grade products. It is intended to communicate a more durable product with the expectation that it will work better or longer in an environment where it is used more regularly.

I do not believe the term is legally regulated and it can be used simply as marketing but the meaning is still the same whether it is used appropriately or not.

Primarily, consider the vendor. If you are buying from a general consumer store, it may indicate a slightly more durable product or a marketing ploy. If you are at a trade store or commercial vendor that caters to professionals, the term will likely be more accurately used.

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    BUT there's no legal definition, So I could sell "Professional grade Cheerios" if I wanted to (aside from trademark infringement) – Carl Witthoft Jun 23 '17 at 13:03
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    @CarlWitthoft that's true, but your example is not apt. Professional grade Cheerios is a misuse of the term since Cheerios would not differ in the way the term implies. The term can be used simply as marketing but the meaning is still the same whether it is used appropriately or not. – PV22 Jun 23 '17 at 13:10
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To the above Cheerios example: Of course Professional Grade Cheerios would be referencing that a chef in a restaurant would be using these Cheerios, instead of your regular household Cheerios. The term "professional grade" in this case would imply a benefit to the professional that makes it a superior choice to the regular grade.

Comments above made on durability or higher quality are incorrect. Any benefit over other products can give something the label of "professional grade". For example, "professional grade" could mean it contains more sugar or is slightly sweeter than the regular grade products, making its patrons happier.

The legal aspects of calling something professional grade in terms of false advertising is that the product must be compared to industry household standard. Therefore, if a company uses this term and are sued, the producers may have to prove that their product is somehow superior to the household standard.

For example: A glue company calls their super strong glue professional grade. At work, their glue fails and someone is killed. And they are sued. To get out of the suit they could simply state that they used the label "professional grade" because their glue is stronger than white glue, or that it is easier to clean up, or any other benefit over white glue.

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