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What is a Trademark Class and How Do You Choose the Correct Trademark Class to File?

What is a Trademark Class and How Do You Choose the Correct Trademark Class to File?

When you file an application for a trademark, you are required to select the trademark class, or classes, in which your particular product or service belongs. This might lead you to wonder what a trademark class is and how it is you choose the correct trademark class for your particular product or service.

What is a Trademark Class?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (also known as the “USPTO”) utilizes something known as the “Nice Classification of Goods and Services”, which is a system created to classify goods and services for the purpose of registering trademarks. This classification system is recognized by many countries throughout the world and helps provide a better system for consistency in trademark laws between countries. The system also makes conducting a federal trademark search much simpler because the search can be narrowed down to particular trademark classes.

The Nice Classification of Goods and Services groups different products and services into categories known as “trademark international classes”. Each trademark class is assigned a number and makes up a certain type of products of services. The Nice Classification List (or “NCL” for short) consists of 34 goods and 11 services. For example, if your products were related to household or kitchen utensils, you would file your trademark registration under Class 21. If your products were related to carpets, rugs, linoleum, mats or some other material that covers flooring, you would you’re your trademark registration under Class 27. If you provide legal services, you would file your trademark registration under Class 45.

What is a Trademark Description?

In addition to selecting the appropriate trademark class for your products and/or services, you will have to draft a complete description (identification) of the goods and services you will be providing. This description is very important because it is what the USPTO will use to compare your application to other trademark registration to determine whether there is a conflict. When describing the goods and services you want to sell or provide, it is helpful to use somewhat broad language, but not too broad. The reason for this is because you cannot broaden the identification after the application is filed. However, if the description is too narrow, you could give up valuable trademark protection. An attorney can assist you with drafting an accurate but broad description of your products and/or services.

How Do You Choose the Right Trademark Class for Your Product or Service?

On the USPTO’s website, you can go through their Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual to help you decide which trademark class should be filed for your particular product and service, but while you may initially determine that your products or services fall under one particular class, you may also neglect to address other classes that may be applicable to your trademark. This can become a costly mistake down the road if you ever wish to defend yourself against trademark infringers and find you don’t have the proper trademark class registration. A qualified trademark attorney will help you determine and advise you about which trademark classes to file for.

It is also important to note that your registration fees are based on the number of trademark classes you are applying for. For example, companies like Google, Apple and Disney have dozens of trademarks because their goods and services fall under so many different trademark classes.

Understanding more about trademark classes and identifications will help you understand more about trademark laws and why trademark registration fees may vary. Make sure that you consult with a qualified trademark attorney to ensure you file trademark registrations accurately and for all of the trademark classes that are applicable to your products and/or services.

WINTER LLP® is a corporate, transactional, regulatory and intellectual property law firm focused on traditional and emerging markets, with offices in Orange County, San Francisco, and Arizona, servicing clients around the world.

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