Planning to register a trademark? No matter the type of intellectual property you need to register as a trademark, either is your business name, slogan or logo, before filing in your application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you first need to choose a class of goods and services suitable for your trademark.
The role of trademark classes is to define the product and service categories that will be protected by your registered trademark. They are very important, and given their complexity, not always easy to understand.
Understanding Trademark Classes
In choosing the right trademark class for your products or services you will use the USPTO trademark classification system which includes 45 trademark classes among which 34 classes are for goods and 11 for services. Each class includes a significant number of products or services from which you have to choose the right ones for your trademark. Because of the variety of products or services included in each class, sometimes it can be difficult to identify the right ones. For example, class 3 includes abrasive paper and sheets and also acrylic nail. Class 28 includes aquarium pumps, arcade games and also archery equipment.
Another characteristic of the USPTO trademark classification system is that products and services are not grouped together, even if in your commercial activity they are obviously linked.For example, if you are producing chocolate, you need to register class 30, and if you own a pastry or a sweetshop, you need to also register class 35. If you have a sweetshop and you manufacture your own chocolate you might need to register both classes.
Your application must name the selected class of products and services you need your trademark to protect. In order to improve the chances of getting your application approved fast, you need to identify correctly the products and services you are providing. To make sure your trademark is protecting all your products and services, select the specific classes very carefully. After your registration has been approved, you will not be able to modify them.
For example, if you are manufacturing materials used to make clothing such as elastic or jersey fabrics you need to register your trademark for class 24. If you also provide jewelry used in creating clothing, you will also need to register class 14, because class 24 does not cover this type of products.
Why Trademark Classes Are Important
Trademark classification system helps you register your trademark correctly, offer your protection on the market and is also extremely useful in identifying infringes.
Registration withUSPTO ensures the protection of your trademark on the market against businesses trying to register a trademark that is confusingly similar to yours. The main principles defining “confusingly similar” are:
- The two compared trademark must be similar
- They refer to related products or services
For example, “Wiki” sport shoes and “Wiki” pasta can coexist as different trademarks on the market because they refer to categories of goods that are so different, that the risk of being considered as having the same source is very small. Still, there are cases when even if products are classified in different classes, they are much too similar to not be confused as being provided from the same source if they are registered under similar trademarks. This is the case of potatoes chips (class 29) and cereal based snack food in class 30.
Another thing that identifying the proper class for your products or services helpsat is monitoring potential infringers much easier.
What If You Choose the Wrong Trademark Class?
The wrong trademark means:
- You might lose money and time because your registration might not be accepted.
- If your registration is accepted for the wrong products or services, you might be infringing someone else’s trademark.
- If your registration is accepted for the wrong products or services, someone else might register it for the right products or services that you provide, but have failed to identify correctly in your application.
- If you have succeeded in registering your trademark for the wrong class of products, you can’t switch to other class later, and you can’t switch between products and services.
The only solution in repairing the registration of the wrong trademark class is to start over with a new trademark registration.
Choosing the right trademark class is important. It is also difficult. You need to conduct a comprehensive research to make sure you don’t apply for a trademark that is much too similar to an already registered/in use trademark. You also need to make sure the class you have chosen reflects correctly the products and services you are offering.
For help and guidance, talk to our trademark attorney which can answer all your questions about trademark registration. Avoid losing time and money and make sure you succeed in registering your mark fast and easy by consulting a specialized intellectual property attorney.
This portion of the site is for informational purposes only and the content doesn’t have the value of legal advice. All the statements and opinions are expressions of author and have not been evaluated by us for accuracy, completeness or conformity with changes in the law.