Choosing a trademark class might be the most difficult and perplexing aspect of completing a trademark application. Here are some pointers to help you understand trademark classes and choose the best one for you.
When applying for trademark registration, you must specify the kind of products or services that your trademark will cover.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) employs a list of trademark classes that categorises all products and services into 45 categories – 34 trademark product classes and 11 trademark service classes. The class names might be perplexing at first look. Where should the border be drawn between medical supplies (class 10) and medical services (class 44)? What exactly is the distinction between textiles (class 24) and textile goods (class 22)?
It’s critical to choose the correct class, since if you don’t, you could not be able to register a trademark. And if you do manage to register for the incorrect class, you can’t amend your registration afterwards to rename it or transform it from a product to a service.
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Here are some pointers to help you choose the appropriate trademark classes.
Use the Trademark Identification Manual to help you.
A list of USPTO trademark classes may be found in the USPTO’s trademark identification handbook. It also includes pre-approved descriptions of the items or services that belong under each category. The handbook is searchable online, so if you key in “jewellery,” for example, you’ll get a list of all the available products and services categories. Most jewellery is classified as class 16, while toy jewellery is classified as class 28, medical identification bracelets are classified as class 6, and ring size and remounting is classified as class 37.
Is it a product or service?
To choose the appropriate trademark class, you must first determine whether your trademark pertains to an item or a service. A good is a tangible object that others buy from you. A service is an action that you conduct for the benefit of others. It’s not always simple to detect the difference. Furniture, for example, is an excellent investment. Accounting is a kind of service.
Sometimes the line isn’t so obvious. T-shirts are used as an illustration by the Trademark Office. You are offering a service if you have a large number of t-shirts and sell them. You are offering a printing service if consumers bring shirts to you and you custom print them. If you sell t-shirts with designs on them, you may need to register trademarks for both a product and a service. You are also offering a retail service if you have a website or a retail shop where you sell t-shirts or other things.
Is your trademark for your whole company or for a specific product or service?
You may have trademarks that are applicable to your whole firm, such as your company name and logo. However, you may also wish to trademark certain product names, logos, labels, or other aspects. The categorization for a specific product is not always the same as the classification for the whole organisation.
For instance, if you own a firm that creates gaming software, your company’s trademarks will advertise a software product (class 9). But say you wish to trademark the name of a new sort of product — a non-downloadable online game. That specific item is a service classified as 41.
Decide on a Trademark Classification
Trademark classifications might be perplexing since your business name or emblem may appear on a variety of items. There’s the goods, but then there’s your website, business cards, and the sign outside your office. Remember that your trademark class is determined by the product or service itself, not by how you use your brand to sell that product or service.
If you sell cosmetics, for example, you are in class 3, “cosmetics and cleaning compounds.” You would not register a trademark in class 16, “paper products,” just because your company’s name and emblem appear on product boxes and brochures.
Furthermore, your application should only include the products or services for which you now use or plan to use your trademark. If you put your brand on a t-shirt label, you should mention t-shirts, but not dresses and trousers merely because they are in the apparel category, unless you intend to sell such products in the future. A trademark attorney can advise you on which trademark classes will be most useful to your company.
Select a Class that best describes the finished product.
Let’s say you offer hand-knit sweaters. Your sweaters belong in garments class 25, not yarns and threads class 23. However, if you offer hand-dyed yarn in addition to sweaters, you must register your yarn in class 23.
Choosing the incorrect trademark classes might cause your trademark registration to be delayed or halted. Take the time to learn how to trademark and think about which class to employ. If you’re unsure, consult with a trademark attorney.