Understanding Trademark Classes
When it comes to trademarks, you’ve probably heard the term “trademark classes” thrown around. But what exactly are they, and why are they so important in the world of intellectual property? In this blog post, we’re going to dive deep into understanding trademark classes in the United States, exploring their history, how they work, and why they matter. So, grab your favorite beverage, settle in, and let’s unravel the mystery of trademark classes.
What Are Trademark Classes?
Trademark classes are like the neatly organized filing cabinets of the intellectual property world. They provide a structured system for categorizing the vast array of goods and services that businesses offer. This system helps in the registration and protection of trademarks.
How Trademark Classes Work:
In the United States, trademark classes are used to classify goods and services associated with trademarks. Every trademark filing must be categorized into at least one class, but it can span multiple classes if the mark covers various types of goods or services.
NOTE: Understanding trademark classes is necessary to a comprehensive trademark search. Not only should your exact class(es) be considered but any class(es) that could be considered related. Any trademark search company worth their weight will look at the entire picture of your goods/services and industry.
A Glimpse into the History of the International Classification System
Before we delve into the specifics of trademark classes in the US, it’s essential to understand their international roots. The International Classification (IC) system, also known as the Nice Classification, plays a pivotal role in this context. It provides a framework for organizing goods and services on a global scale.
The Nice Classification:
The Nice Classification system was established under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Its primary goal is to simplify the process of trademark registration worldwide. By standardizing the classification of goods and services, it eases the burden on businesses seeking international trademark protection.
The International Classification (IC) System
The International Classification (IC) system comprises 45 different classes, which are divided into two main categories: goods and services. Knowing the difference between goods and services is essential to understanding trademark classes.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories:
Goods (IC 1-34):
(a) Finished products are generally classified based on their function or purpose. If no specific class exists for the product’s function, it’s categorized by analogy with similar items.
(b) Multipurpose products, like a clock that also incorporates a radio, can be classified in all relevant classes. However, if a product has a primary purpose, it should be classified accordingly. Clocks incorporating radios are in IC 14 (horological and chronometric instruments) whereas radios incorporating clocks are in IC 9 (apparatus for transmission of sound)
(c) Raw materials are categorized based on their composition, i.e., “according to the material of which they consist.”
(d) Goods intended to become part of another product are usually classified in the same class as that product.
(e) Products made of multiple materials are primarily classified based on the predominant material.
(f) Cases designed for specific products are typically classified in the same class as the product.
Services (IC 35-45):
(a) Services are generally categorized according to the specified branches of activity or by analogy with similar services.
(b) Rental services are classified in the same class as the services provided by the rented objects. For example, rental of trucks is in IC 39, the transportation class.
(c) Services offering advice, information, or consultation are classified based on the subject matter of the service. Financial consultancy is in the financial class, IC 36.
(d) Services provided within the framework of franchising are classified in the same class as the specific services provided by the franchisor. Legal services relating to franchising are in IC 45, the legal class.
Simplifying the Definitions of Goods and Services
Now that we’ve covered the technicalities, let’s simplify the definitions of goods and services:
Goods are the tangible things we buy and use in our everyday lives. They can range from a toothbrush to a smartphone, a bicycle, or a refrigerator. When classifying goods for trademark purposes, we consider their function, materials, and any additional features.
Services, on the other hand, are the intangible offerings that make our lives easier or more enjoyable. They can be things like legal advice, financial consulting, transportation, or even a spa day. For trademark classification, services are categorized based on their specific area of expertise or field of operation.
Navigating the ID Manual
Now that you have a grasp of the basics, let’s talk about a valuable tool for trademark classification in the US – the Trademark Next Generation (TMNG) ID Manual. This manual serves as a searchable database for goods and services, making it easier for applicants to identify the appropriate class for their trademark.
It’s a handy resource that helps you find the right class for your trademark quickly and efficiently. Simply enter a word or words that describes your goods/services and the appropriate class(es) will pop up. Knowing how to use the ID Manual is essential to understanding trademark classes, as it is the primary source for not only picking the correct class(es) but also the correct goods/services description.
Per Class USPTO Fees
Part of understanding trademark classes is knowing how they’ll impact you financially. Filing for a trademark in the US involves some costs, and these fees can vary depending on the number of classes your trademark covers.
Here’s a breakdown of the fees for various trademark-related processes that are billed per class (electronic filing):
For Initial Filings:
– $350 per class for TEAS Standard application.
– $250 per class for TEAS Plus application.
For Statement of Use (SOU):
– $100 per class
For six-month extension for filing an SOU:
– $125 per class
For Post-Registration Filings:
– $225 per class for Section 8 declaration.
– $300 per class for Section 9 renewal.
– $200 per class for Section 15 declaration.
Please note that these fees are subject to change, so it’s advisable to check the USPTO’s fee schedule for the most up-to-date information.
The List of 45 Trademark Classes
Now, let’s take a look at the 45 trademark classes, differentiating between goods and services. While not complete, this truncated list will help in understanding trademark classes on the whole. This list is essential for anyone navigating the trademark registration process:
GOODS, Trademark Classes 1-34
Class 1 Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry
Class 2 Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for use in painting, decorating, printing and art
Class 3 Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; non-medicated soaps; perfumery, essential oils, non-medicated cosmetics, non-medicated hair lotions; non-medicated dentifrices
Class 4 Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting
Class 5 Pharmaceuticals, medical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic food and substances adapted for medical or veterinary use, food for babies; dietary supplements for humans and animals; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides
Class 6 Common metals and their alloys, ores; metal building materials for building and construction; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; ironmongery, small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; metal containers for storage or transport; safes;; ores
Class 7 Machines and machine tools; motors and engines (except for land vehicles); machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles); agricultural implements other than hand-operated; incubators for eggs; automatic vending machines
Class 8 Hand tools and implements (hand-operated); cutlery; side arms; razors
Class 9 Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; compact discs, DVDs and other digital recording media; mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment, computers; computer software; fire-extinguishing apparatus
Class 10 Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments; artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopaedic articles; suture materials; therapeutic and assistive devices adapted for the disabled; massage apparatus; apparatus, devices and articles for nursing infants; sexual activity apparatus, devices and articles
Class 11 Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes
Class 12 Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water
Class 13 Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks
Class 14 Precious metals and their alloys; jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments
Class 15 Musical instruments
Class 16 Paper and cardboard; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery and office requisites, except furniture; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists’ and drawing materials; paintbrushes; typewriters and office requisites (except furniture); instructional and teaching materials (except apparatus); plastic materials forsheets, films and bags for wrapping and packaging; printers’ type,; printing blocks
Class 17 Unprocessed and semi-processed rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and substitutes for all these materials; plastics and resins in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials; flexible pipes, tubes and hoses, not of metal
Class 18 Leather and imitations of leather; animal skins, and hides; trunks and travellingluggage and carrying bags; umbrellas and parasols; walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery; collars, leashes and clothing for animals
Class 19 Building materials (non-metallic); non-metallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch and bitumen; non-metallic transportable buildings; monuments, not of metal
Class 20 Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; containers, not of metal, for storage or transport; unworked or semi-worked bone, horn, ivory, whalebone or mother-of-pearl; shells; meerschaum; yellow amber
Class 21 Household or kitchen utensils and containers; combs and sponges; brushes, (except paintbrushes); brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; steelwool; unworked or semi-worked glass, (except building glass used in building); glassware, porcelain and earthenware
Class 22 Ropes and string; nets; tents, awnings, and tarpaulins; awnings of textile or synthetic materials; sails; sacks for the transport and storage of materials in bulk; padding, cushioning and stuffing materials, (except of paper, cardboard, rubber or plastics); raw fibrous textile materials and substitutes therefor
Class 23 Yarns and threads, for textile use
Class 24 Textiles and substitutes for textiles; bed covers; table covershousehold linen; curtains of textile or plastic
Class 25 Clothing, footwear, headgear
Class 26 Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers; hair decorations; false hair
Class 27 Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile)
Class 28 Games, toys and playthings; video game apparatus; gymnastic and sporting articles; decorations for Christmas trees
Class 29 Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs; milk and milk products; edible oils and fats
Class 30 Coffee, tea, cocoa and artificial coffee; rice; tapioca and sago; flour and preparations made from cereals; bread, pastries and confectionery; edible ices; sugar, honey, treacle; yeast, baking-powder; salt; mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice
Class 31 Raw and unprocessed agricultural, aquacultural, horticultural and forestry products; raw and unprocessed grains and seeds; fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs; natural plants and flowers; bulbs, seedlings and seeds for planting; live animals; foodstuffs and beverages for animals; malt
Class 32 Beers; mineral and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic beverages; fruit beverages and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages
Class 33 Alcoholic beverages (except beers)
Class 34 Tobacco; smokers’ articles; matches
SERVICES, Trademark Classes 35-45
Class 35 Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions
Class 36 Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs
Class 37 Building construction; repair; installation services
Class 38 Telecommunications
Class 39 Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement
Class 40 Treatment of materials
Class 41 Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities
Class 42 Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software
Class 43 Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation
Class 44 Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services
Class 45 Legal services; security services for the physical protection of tangible property and individuals; personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals
US Classes A, B, and 200: Scraps of the Prior US Classification System
A long time ago in a USPTO far, far gone, specifically, on September 1, 1973, the USPTO adopted the Nice Classification. Prior to that, the US had its own classification system for trademarks. There are a few vestiges of those days that still remain, namely, Classes A, B, and 200.
First up, we’ve got Class A, and it’s all about the goods. Class A is where you’ll find certification marks for goods. What does that mean? Well, think of it as a seal of approval. When you see a product with a Class A certification mark, it means an organization has given it the thumbs up, saying, “Hey, this product meets our high standards!” So, it’s like a little gold star for goods.
Now, let’s talk about Class B. Class B is the place to be for certification marks related to services. Just like with goods, it’s all about quality assurance. When you spot a service provider proudly displaying a Class B certification mark, it’s like them saying, “We’ve got the skills and expertise to rock this service!” It’s a sign of trust and reliability.
And last but not least, there’s Class 200. This one’s all about collective membership marks. But what exactly does that mean? Well, think of it as a badge of honor for groups or organizations. When you see a collective membership mark, it signifies that the folks carrying it are part of a special club or association. It’s like being a member of an exclusive fan club, but for businesses and organizations. So, these marks are all about showing unity and belonging.
In a nutshell, Classes A, B, and 200 in the U.S. classification system help us understand the quality, trustworthiness, and affiliations of goods, services, and organizations. They’re like little labels that speak volumes about what’s inside the package, making it easier for consumers to make informed choices.
And there you have it, the complete breakdown of trademark classes in the United States. Understanding these classes is a crucial step in protecting your brand and intellectual property. So, whether you’re launching a new product, offering a unique service, or simply looking to safeguard your business identity, understanding trademark classes are vital to the trademark process.