Trademark Classes Explained
Trademarks are registered for particular goods and/or services. For example, COCA-COLA for carbonated soft drinks (Reg. No. 696147). The goods and services are organized into categories, called Trademark Classes. For example, clothing and footwear are in class 25, while backpacks are in class 18. An application to register the mark NIKE could include goods in classes 25 and 18.
When applying for a trademark registration, the Examining Attorney will determine if the applied-for goods/services match the specified class.
What is the Purpose of Trademark Classes?
The system of classification was introduced to streamline the international trademark registration process. Standardized trademark categorization is useful for searching prior registrations and establishing filing-fees because filing fees are based upon the number of applied for classes.
How Do Classes Make Clearance Searches Easier?
Trademark classes can be used to filter clearance search results. If you wanted to know if the mark NIKE is already registered for clothing, you might only search for registrations/applications in classes for yarns and threads (23), clothing and footwear (25), fancy goods (26), advertising and business services (35), and websites (42). These classes, which are for goods that are closely related, are referred to as “coordinated classes.” Read our trademark search article.
Determining The Correct Trademark Class
The proper class for particular goods or services can be found by searching the USPTO “ID Manual” database of approved goods and services at this LINK (https://idm-tmng.uspto.gov/id-master-list-public.html). You can also review prior trademark applications by searching the goods/services field of the USPTO TESS database of registered trademarks. (See Instructions for using TESS.)
Correctly Identifying the Goods and/or Services is Most Important
Correctly identified a trademark’s goods and/or services is more important than applying in the right class because the class can be corrected by amendment. By contrast, goods and/or services cannot be expanded by amendment. Additionally, the applicant should avoid, if possible, identifying good and/or services which are described by the mark. Descriptivneess is grounds for the refusal to register a trademark.