If you have researched about trademark business name, logo, or any other intellectual property, then you might have an idea that you are required to choose a class of goods or services while registering a trademark with US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
There is no fixed fee for every trademark registration. A fee of every trademark is determined by the number of its classes.
For example, USPTO filing fees are: If someone is filing for TEAS plus trademark application, he will pay $225 per class of goods/services, TEAS reduced fee is $275 per class and TEAS regular is $400 per class of goods/services. TEAS Plus is the cheapest option, but the applicant will be required to follow the strict requirements, and one of them is that the trademark applicant will identify the goods or services by the class from the list of USPTO trademark manual.
Nice classification (NCL) is used to classify goods and services for registering the trademark. This classification was established in 1957 by a nice agreement. Nice classification is updated every year, and now its 11th edition is the current version being used. This version consists of 45 classes in which class 1-34 are for goods trademarks while 35-45 are for services.
Why is it important to pick the right class to describe your goods and services?
These trademark classes are very important because your registration will protect your trademark in the class, which you’ve identified in your application. Understanding trademark classes can be a difficult task as it is not easy to determine that in which class your product fits. Goods and services can never be in the same class. If a person is selling coffee to the grocery store, it falls under class 30(goods) while a person running a coffee shop belongs to class 43 (Services). When someone is filing for a trademark application, he should select the class of goods or services and must identify the goods or services he is going to provide. Trademark protects the good service that someone names in his application. For example, a business is making handcrafted chairs and tables, and the registered trademark is in class 20 for furniture, and then that business starts’ making wooden serving spoons in this case trademark is not going to protect the spoons as they fall in class 21 which is for household utensils. For spoons, another trademark application is needed to file.
There are basically two important functions of trademark classification
1: It provides guidelines about registering trademarks
2: Helps to avoid any contraventions
USPTO does not register a trademark that has already been registered or is confusingly similar to another already registered trademark. This also applies to related goods and services so that a customer does not gets confused about the source. For example, a business “SHELL” is a gasoline business another company cannot use this name to sell auto parts or such business as it will confuse the customers that both have the same source, while on the other hand, a company selling cosmetics can use SHELL as these products are not related, and no one thinks that they came from the same source.
How to choose a trademark class?
The first thing to consider while applying for trademark registration is identifying the class of goods or services that your business is or will cover. The US patent and trademark office has a list that divides goods and services into 45 categories. Choosing the right class is very important; if you’ve selected a wrong class, you will not be able to register your trademark. But if you get registered for a wrong class, you cannot change your registration, or you cannot switch your business from services to goods. The USPTO’s trademark identification manual provides a description of products or services that fall into each class. You can search for this manual online. If you search for jewelry in the search bar, you will see all possible goods and services for this term.
You can also find different classes according to the nature of business.
For selecting the correct trademark class, you must know that your business falls in the class of goods or services. In simple words, a physical item that people purchase is goods, and service is an activity that someone performs for others. A grocery store is a goods business, and a law firm is selling services.
Trademark applies to your business as a whole such as business name and logo. But there is a possibility a business may have a particular product that does not come under that trademark.
For example, a company develops gaming software such as company trademarks promote a software product that comes under goods class-9. If that company introduces a new type of product, an online non-downloadable game, this particular product of the company will fall under class 41 of services.
THE 4-STEP TRADEMARK CLASS SELECTION PROCESS
The First Step is doing research about the keywords you are going to use for describing your goods and services. Note down all the keywords, you have good knowledge about your business you can explain this in your way, or you can take help from your lawyer to make sure that you have selected relevant classes for your business.
In the second step, visit the website USPTO and go to the USPTO Trademark ID manual database to use your keywords related to your business here; you will find classes. Note down all class numbers; these classes will be used to figure out your good/services. You can also use an unofficial version of the Trademark ID manual database called the Trademark Next Generation Application Trademark ID Manual, this database is having advanced searching and browsing capacities and gives comments and suggestions.
In 3rd step, double-check all classes you find in 2nd step, and if you find any new class related to your business, note it down. You can manually check all 45 classes one by one.
4th step is reviewing all of your selected classes with WIPO explanatory notes. These notes are very important as there are examples of what class will get included and what class will not. Another great thing about these notes is that sometimes a certain type of product or service is not included in any specific class these explanatory notes will guide you about the right class for your goods/services in this situation.
These are the 45 classes you can find out your business fits in which class. From class 1 to class 34 are Goods related classes, and from class 35 to 45 are service-related classes.
- 001 – Chemicals
- 002 – Paints
- 003 – Cleaning Substances
- 004 – Industrial Oils
- 005 – Pharmaceuticals
- 006 – Common Metals
- 007 – Machines
- 008 – Hand Tools
- 009 – Computers and Scientific Devices
- 010 – Medical Supplies
- 011 – Appliances
- 012 – Vehicles
- 013 – Firearms
- 014 – Precious Metals
- 015 – Musical Instruments
- 016 – Paper Goods
- 017 – Rubber Products
- 018 – Leather Goods
- 019 – Building Materials
- 020 – Furniture
- 021 – Household Utensils
- 022 – Ropes and Textile Products
- 023 – Yarns and Threads
- 024 – Textiles
- 025 – Clothing
- 026 – Lace and Embroidery
- 027 – Carpets
- 028 – Games and Sporting Goods
- 029 – Meat, Fish, Poultry
- 030 – Coffee, Flour, Rice
- 031 – Grains, Agriculture
- 032 – Beers and Beverages
- 033 – Alcoholic Beverages
- 034 – Tobacco Products
- 035 – Advertising and Business Services
- 036 – Insurance and Finance Services
- 037 – Construction and Repair Services
- 038 – Telecommunications Services
- 039 – Shipping and Travel Services
- 040 – Material Treatment Services
- 041 – Education and Entertainment Services
- 042 – Science and Technology Services
- 043 – Food Services
- 044 – Medical and Vet Services
- 045 – Legal and Security Services
Trade Marks vs. Copyrights
As earlier discussed, trademarks are symbols or designs used for representing certain goods or services that distinguish them from others in the market. On the other hand, copyright applies to original works of creativity. For example, a song sung by Justin Bieber is his intellectual property, and he holds its copyright any other singer cannot use his song for promotional activates or to earn money without permission, if anyone tries to do so he will get heavily fined because of using someone else’s intellectual property without any agreement or without any permission.
If we try to understand trademark with the example of APPLE, If you search for APPLE on the website of USPTO, you will find many companies using Apple like an apple company in class 009, US 021, 023, 026, 036, 038 is registered for a computer program (recorded on paper and tape) and for software development, gaming software’s and can create graphics and editing texts and another company with the same trademark “APPLE” is registered in class 034, US017 this company is also in goods category, but it’s is smoking tobacco-related product manufacturer. There will be no contradiction between these two companies as both are serving in totally different sectors; no customer will get confused with that apple cigarette is the product of Apple computers.