Trade mark classes

What are trade mark classes and why are they so important?

Every entrepreneur needs to think about trade marks when looking to invest in their branding, in particular, the ‘class(es)’ within which to register their trade mark. This is an area where people struggle when registering a trade mark, as it can be quite tricky.

Read on to learn more about how to choose the right class or classes for your products and/or services when making a trade mark application.

What are trade mark classes?

A trade mark class groups products and services that are deemed to be within similar areas of trade, eg class 39 incorporates transport, packaging, storage of goods and travel arrangements.

Classes can be identified by their numbers according to the European Union trade mark classification.

Why do you have to register your trade mark into trade mark classes?

Registering your trade mark under a specific class prevents someone from registering the same or similar trade mark within the same class. This stops someone who is selling the same products or services having the same/similar trade mark as you.

It does not prevent someone potentially registering a similar trade mark in a different class(es), so be sure to register your trademark in all the classes you think are relevant.

Trade mark classification

Trade marks must be filed in one or more of the 45 ‘classes.’ Of these classes, 34 are for goods and 11 are for services.

Examples of classes for classification of goods include:

  • Class 9 – Scientific, nautical, surveying, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, data processing equipment, computer, computer software, transforming etc.
  • Class 16 – Paper and cardboard, printed matter, stationery, instructional and teaching materials, photographs etc.

Examples of classes for classification of services include:

  • Class 35 – Advertising, business management, business administration, office functions
  • Class 41 – Education, providing of training, entertainment etc.
  • Class 42 – Scientific and technological Services and Research and Design relating thereto, industrial analysis and research services, design and development of computer hardware and software
  • Class 45 – Legal services, security services for the protection of property and individuals, personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals

Rocket Lawyer UK trade marked “Rocket Lawyer” as a word, to protect our brand name in several classes. “Rocket Lawyer” is registered under:

  • Class 9 – to protect its computer software products, data processing equipment
  • Class 16 – to protect any instructional and teaching material it produces such as legal guides
  • Class 35 – for the purposes of business administration
  • Class 41 –  protects its unique presentation of work
  • Class 42 – to protect its technological services and design, and
  • Class 45 – for the protection of services provided  within the  legal sector

How do I pick which class(es) to register my trade mark in?

Deciding which classes to register your trade mark can be tricky.

The first step in determining your class is to prepare a specification, eg a description of the goods or services for which you are using or intend to use the mark. The specification must be as clear and precise as possible and cover not only products of immediate interest, but also those which are intended to be of  future interest.

In order to identify which category your goods or services belong to, you should take into account:

  • The function and purpose of the goods or services
  • Whether the goods consist of any raw materials
  • What activities are involved in the service and
  • What is the subject matter or activity of services provided

It is not in your interest to make the specification so broad so as to cover goods or services in which the company does not intend to market. This is because it may lead you to:

  • Lose money for each rejected class as there is a filing  fee of £50.00 for each specific class
  • Be subject to potential claims for non-use of trade mark
  • Involuntarily becoming a trade mark troll

Still in doubt?

If you are having difficulty choosing the correct category or categories for your goods or services, read Trade mark classifications. Alternatively,  you may want to seek help and advice from a trade mark attorney.