Figuring out what trademark class your goods or services belong to is one of the first things you have to do when filing a trademark application. It’s also one of the hardest things to do because there are 45 classes of goods or services to choose from. Understanding how to use the USPTO’s searchable database will enable you to look up the correct trademark class for your goods or services. Read on to learn how to search for a trademark class utilizing the USPTO’s Trademark ID Manual.
Steps for Searching for a Trademark Class
- Step One
Determine exactly what items or services you want to include in your trademark application and create a list of those individual products or services.
- Step Two
Visit the USPTO’s website and access the Trademark ID Manual. This manual contains all 45 trademark classes and lists the specific goods or services belonging to each class and this is the online manual that will be used to search.
- Step Three
Search for your goods or services in the Trademark ID Manual. Using the search bar in the middle of the screen, type in the goods or services you identified in Step 1. Use both broad and narrow search terms to find the class that most accurately represents your goods or services because some search terms yield hundreds of results, while others yield few to no results. For example, if you are searching for “clothing” you will get over 650 results. Even if you narrow your search to “shirts,” you will get over 100 results, so don’t stop there. Also, try “T-Shirts” or “Polo Shirts.” Based on your search terms, your results will be displayed in a table and reveal which class your goods or services fall under.
- Step One
Video Example of Doing a Trademark Class Search
The Difference Between Classes for Goods and Services
In total, there are 45 trademark classes, 34 for goods and 11 for services. A full list of each trademark class, and the goods or services represented therein, can be found at the USPTO’s website.
The USPTO classifies goods according to their function, purpose, or the materials they are composed of, while services are classified according to activity and subject matter.
Common Trademark Classes
Despite the fact that there are 45 trademark classes to choose from, Gerben IP reported in a previous blog post that certain classes are applied for far more frequently than others.
Of the 34 trademark classes for goods, some of the most frequently used classes include:
- Class 9 for electrical and scientific apparatus
- Class 25 for clothing
- Class 33 for wine and hard liquor
Of the 11 trademark classes for services, some of the most frequently used classes include:
- Class 35 for advertising and business
- Class 41 for education and entertainment
- Class 42 for computer and scientific-based services
Important Considerations for Selecting Trademark Classes
Once you have completed your search, you will need to select the correct class and include it in your application.
There is no limit on the number of classes you can include in a single trademark application, but you should carefully consider whether the classes you have selected accurately represent your goods or services and the costs associated with filing a multi-class application.
Gerben IP warns that trademark registrations only provide protection for the goods or services included in the trademark application – so to ensure that all of your goods or services are protected, it’s critical to select the right trademark class. On the other hand, the USPTO requires you to prove that you are selling all of the goods or rendering all of the services in your application before a registration will be issued – so an overbroad selection of trademark classes could cause delays in your trademark application process.
You should also note that the USPTO charges a filing fee for each trademark class included in your application. It’s important to carefully select your trademark classes to avoid unnecessary costs.
Given the numerosity of trademark classes and the risks and costs associated with a narrow or overbroad selection of trademark classes, it’s best to consult with a trademark attorney after you have undertaken each step outlined above.