Understanding the U.S. Trademark Classes is essential for attaining the best results from your trademarks. By choosing a wrong class, or simply not selecting one at all, you could be giving up valuable rights and benefits.
Trademark Class Definition
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.
The USPTO created the trademark class system to help track and categorize goods and services. The USPTO uses the Nice classification system. Many countries also use this system.
There are 45 trademark classes. For example, if you want to protect your business’s name for clothing, it would fall under Class 25, as well as any other apparel that could be sold in a retail store (e.g., hats or belts).
Choosing a Trademark Class
The next step is to determine which trademark classes your product or service falls under, which can be a tricky business. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has an entire system of 45 categories that cover a wide range of industries—from food to clothing to arts and entertainment.
To begin your search for the appropriate class, first use the USPTO’s search system to identify existing businesses that have already registered trademarks for a similar product or services. This will give you an idea of what specific wordings other businesses have chosen in their descriptions—this information will help you navigate through all 45 options during your registration process.
You can also type in your products and services in the Trademark ID Manual and it will give you the appropriate class to file under.
If your trademark is “in use”, meaning people can purchase your goods or services, you can only choose the trademark classes for the goods and services in which you are selling.
However, if you plan on launching something in the near future but it’s not available yet for purchase or consumption, then you can file under a class on an “intent to use” basis.
It is EXTREMELY important that you choose the right class, because if you don’t you may end up receiving an office action that you’ll need to respond to to cure the issue.
Most Frequently Used Trademark Classes at Wilson Murphy Law
Because we work with a lot of service based businesses and online course creators, we find ourselves filing under the following classes often.
Class 09: Class 09 is the class you’d use if you have a downloadable podcast, downloadable videos, or downloadable templates.
Class 25: This class is where all of your apparel items are including shirts, pants, athletic wear, hats, and more.
Class 35: This is where all of the advertising and business services fall such as administration, management, marketing, etc.
Class 41: Class 41 is for education and entertainment services. You’ll find event planning, trainings, courses, workshops, concerts, and more under this class.
Which trademark class should you choose?
To put it simply, a trademark class is nothing more than the category that you assign to your trademark. In other words, you use the class to distinguish one mark from the other. For example, if you have a trademark for a product WOW (gadgets) and another based on WOW (cosmetic), you can file them both in different classes of goods/services. If you’re in the process of filing your trademark application, and you’re unsure which class to choose, contact us and we’ll help you with registration process.