Trademark Filing Classes: File Your Trademark Under The Appropriate Class

 

 

Greetings. I’m trademark attorney Josh Gerben, and I want to talk a little bit about the classes that you can file a trademark in when you go to file a trademark application.

One of the things that we work through with clients in the trademark application process is what goods or services are you offering? The reason this is important is because the rights in trademarks are given out based on the goods or services you offer.

You can have very similar, even identical trademarks in different industries. For example, you have Dove chocolate and Dove soap. You’ve got Delta Airlines, Delta faucets, and there’s a lot of other Deltas out there.

The reason these trademarks can co-exist is because they’re in vastly different markets. If I’m in the market to buy a body soap, I’m not going to confuse that with the name of a chocolate maker. There are always exceptions to every rule, but, in general, this is the rule, that if the trademark is in a different line of business or a different channel of trade, even if it’s identical to a pre-existing trademark, they can co- exist.

An obvious exception would be very famous trademarks, like Nike or Coca- Cola. You can’t go make Coca-Cola soap. It’s just not going to happen. But in a lot of cases, these more common words can be used over and over again in different industries.

What this means for you, when we’re filing your trademark application, is we have to select different categories or what the government calls classes of goods or services. Essentially, the government has divided every good and service known to mankind into 45 different classes.

Let’s say you’re selling clothing, sunglasses, and purses. Those actually fall into three different categories. Clothing is Class 25. The classes are just numbered 1 through 45. Clothing is Class 25, purses would be Class 18, sunglasses Class 9.

The significance to you is that the US Government filing fee is $275 per class of goods or services. So instead of paying a $275 government fee for just a single class application, now you’re paying $825 to file the trademark application.

This is where I talk to a lot of small business owners about the strategy in registering a trademark and how many classes you actually want to buy when you file the trademark. It can really raise your cost very quickly. But again, we have to work within the government system. So we’re at the end of the day trying to figure out: Well, what goods or services are you offering? What are the applicable classes, and then what strategy do we want to take? Do we have the budget for the classes that you want to register in, or do we maybe have to register in a few less classes, just to keep the cost in line?

At the end of the day, that’s your choice, but I’m happy to help you work through these issues. Please feel free to give me a call.