Trademark Filing Classes: Explained

Today, we will talk about the classes in which you can file a trademark application

One of the ways we assist our clients throughout the trademark application process is to help them figure out what goods or services they are offering, and then which trademark class(es) these designations fall under. This is significant because trademark rights are distributed based on the goods or services you offer.

Similar Trademarks Can Coexist in Different Classes

You can have very similar – even identical trademarks – as long as they are in different industries and have minimal marketplace overlap. For example, both Dove Chocolate and Dove Soap coexist on the federal register. Another example would be Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets, as well as all of the other Delta marks that have been registered.

The reason these trademarks can coexist is that they are in vastly different markets. If I am in the market to buy a body soap, for example, I am not going to confuse that with the name of a chocolate maker. There are exceptions to every rule, but, in general: if a trademark is in a different line of business or a different channel of trade, even if it is identical to a pre-existing trademark, they can both be registered.

An obvious exception to that rule would be very famous trademarks, such as Nike or Coca-Cola. You are not allowed to make Coca-Cola soap and achieve a trademark registration, regardless of the fact that it is in a different class. But in a lot of cases, more common words and phrases can be used over and over again in different industries.

Selecting Your Classes & How Much It Will Cost

What this means for you is, when you are submitting your trademark application, you must select the different categories in which you want to file your mark. The government calls these categories “classes of goods or services.” Essentially, the government has divided every good and service known to mankind into forty-five different classes that are titled by number.

Let’s say you are selling clothing, sunglasses, and purses. Those three items actually fall into three different categories: clothing is Class 25, purses are Class 18, and sunglasses are Class 9.

The significance of this to you is that the U.S. government filing fee is $350 per class of goods or services designated within the application. Instead of paying a $350 government fee for a single class application, you would now be paying $1,050 in government filing fees to file the trademark application and include all three of your products.

Deciding Which Classes Are Right For You

I talk to a lot of small business owners about the strategy behind registering a trademark and how many classes they actually want to file for when submitting their applications.

Filing for multiple classes can raise your cost very quickly and not everyone has the budget to handle multiple class applications. But, we must work within the government system. At the end of the day, we must answer the following questions:

  • What goods or services are you offering?
  • What are the applicable classes, and what strategy do we want to take?
  • Do you have the budget for the classes that you want to register in, or should we register your mark in fewer classes to keep the cost within budget?

At the end of the day, it is the applicant’s choice, however, the attorneys at Gerben IP are happy to help you work through these issues. Please reach out for your free consultation today.

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