Trademark Class Registration: what is it and how do I do it?
Just imagine that you finally have started your business. You’re looking for your first customers and studying the market situation. But what needs to be done first? If you said, “register your trademark,” you’re absolutely right!
Why is this important to do?
When registering your trademark, you need to determine the ‘class’ of your good or service. A class is basically a category that your good or service falls under. For example, the sale or manufacturing of clothing, cosmetics and food all have different classes and you need to ensure you are registering your trademark in the appropriate class. Problems can arise if you inappropriately select your class. For example, if you register your clothing trademark in the food class, other clothing manufacturers could use your logo on their clothing. Classes are important!
How many classes of trademarks exist?
Lots! The International Classification of Goods and Services (ICGS) has 45 classes that cover 34 goods and 11 services. I won’t list all 45 classes here, but if you want to know more, just shoot me a message and I’ll give you all the details. In short, you can register a trademark in any class that is relevant to its commercial activity. It’s a bit trickier with charities and non-profits, but it’s also possible for them to select classes. As always, I can help with this!
Large companies register their trademarks under different classes in order to protect themselves from other companies using their logo, or something similar, on other products in different classes. Apple registers lots of trademarks in various classes in countries around the world to prevent, for example, Apple running shoes from appearing in stores that aren’t made by the ‘true’ Apple. You can do this as well with your brand, but it comes at a cost because governments charge fees for each class of ICGS to register your trademark. You need to weigh the pros and cons of registering in various classes.
Choosing the right class
There are a lot of things to consider, but with careful consideration, you can make the right decision. First, think about the product groups. If today you produce dairy products (Class 29), it is quite possible that over time your business will diversify and grow to the production of tea and cookies (Class 30), or even to bottled water (Class 32). The rules state that you can only register in one main class. Choosing a class is one of the most important, and rather difficult, tasks when registering a trademark.
But there is a proven, guaranteed way to avoid a costly mistake – shoot me a message. I’ll give you details about each class and help you choose the right one.
Why are trademarks divided into classes?
You will be surprised to learn that the trademark “Daisy” can be registered by different individuals or companies. This is because and why trademarks are divided into 45 different classes. A hand cream, nightclub and a toy store all can use the same brand name but be registered under different classes and to different companies. Since the activities of the company don’t overlap, the brand integrity remains intact and won’t cause confusion among market participants.
In order to prevent unfair competition and monopoly in the market, special classifications of goods and services were created. Individuals and companies can register a trademark to use in certain areas of business, while allowing other entrepreneurs the right to use the same name in other, non-related areas.