The trademark registration process in the UK allows businesses the opportunity to protect their brand, their products, and services.
A key part of the trademark application process that business owners often find particularly challenging is trademark classification. And with good reason, considering the sheer number of trademark classes, you need to wade through. It’s understandable that you should consider turning to a specialist in intellectual property legal services for support when going through this process, but to get you started, here’s our guide on how to classify your trademarks ready for the application process, covering:
- What is the trademark classification system?
- What are the different trademark classifications?
- How to choose the right trademark class
- Help on trademark classification
What is the trademark classification system?
Before going through the trademark registration process, you must provide details of the goods or services that you wish to protect. This statement is usually referred to as the ‘specification’.
On a global scale, Intellectual Property Offices use a trademark classification system referred to as the Nice Classification. The Nice Classification puts types of services and goods into groups or classes intended to make the trademark classification process much simpler.
To register your trademark, you must first choose the category or class that is most relevant to the service or goods you provide. Details of any terms that apply to your class of trademark must also accompany these details in the specification.
What are the different trademark classifications?
There are 45 trademark classes:
- 34 classes of goods
- 11 classes of services
Every trademark class is outlined under a broad heading, for example, paper and cardboard, but under this broad heading, further detail will outline what this includes, for example, bookbinding material, photographs. This helps you identify the correct trademark class for the goods or service that you provide for your customers.
But it is worth noting that the details included as part of the pre-approved terms for each class is not exhaustive. It is only intended for guidance. Explanatory notes are also provided to give more detail on the goods and services and where they should be grouped.
Trademark classification list
The list below details each trademark class and is accompanied by their general description for clarity. Goods are listed in classes 1 – 34 and services are listed in classes 35 – 45.
For any changes to the list, visit the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) website. This will also include explanatory notes.
|1||Chemicals for use in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; fire extinguishing and fire prevention compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; substances for tanning animal skins and hides; adhesives for use in industry; putties and other paste fillers; compost, manures, fertilisers; biological preparations for use in industry and science.|
|2||Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colourants, dyes; inks for printing, marking and engraving; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for use in painting, decorating, printing and art.|
|3||Non-medicated cosmetics and toiletry preparations; non-medicated dentifrices; perfumery, essential oils; bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations.|
|4||Industrial oils and greases, wax; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting.|
|5||Pharmaceuticals, medical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic food and substances adapted for medical or veterinary use, food for babies; dietary supplements for human beings and animals; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides.|
|6||Common metals and their alloys, ores; Metal materials for building and construction; transportable buildings of metal; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; Small items of metal hardware; metal containers for storage or transport; safes.|
|7||Machines, machine tools, power-operated tools; motors and engines, except for land vehicles; machine coupling and transmission components, except for land vehicles; agricultural implements, other than hand-operated hand tools; incubators for eggs; automatic vending machines.|
|8||Hand tools and implements, hand-operated; cutlery; side arms, except firearms; razors.|
|9||Scientific, research, navigation, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, audiovisual, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, detecting, testing, inspecting, life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling the distribution or use of electricity; apparatus and instruments for recording, transmitting, reproducing or processing sound, images or data; recorded and downloadable media, computer software, blank digital or analogue recording and storage media; mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating devices; computers and computer peripheral devices; diving suits, divers’ masks, earplugs for divers, nose clips for divers and swimmers, gloves for divers, breathing apparatus for underwater swimming; fire-extinguishing apparatus.|
|10||Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments; Artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopaedic articles; suture materials; therapeutic and assistive devices adapted for the disabled; massage apparatus; apparatus, devices and articles for nursing infants; sexual activity apparatus, devices and articles.|
|11||Apparatus and installations for lighting, heating, cooling, steam generating, cooking, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.|
|12||Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.|
|13||Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.|
|14||Precious metals and their alloys; Jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.|
|15||Musical instruments; music stands and stands for musical instruments; conductors’ batons.|
|16||Paper and cardboard; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery and office requisites, except furniture; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; drawing materials and materials for artists; paintbrushes; instructional and teaching materials; plastic sheets, films and bags for wrapping and packaging; printers’ type, printing blocks.|
|17||Unprocessed and semi-processed rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and substitutes for all these materials; Plastics and resins in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials; flexible pipes, tubes and hoses, not of metal.|
|18||Leather and imitations of leather; Animal skins and hides; Luggage and carrying bags; umbrellas and parasols; walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery; collars, leashes and clothing for animals.|
|19||Materials, not of metal, for building and construction; rigid pipes, not of metal, for building; asphalt, pitch, tar and bitumen; transportable buildings, not of metal; monuments, not of metal.|
|20||Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; containers, not of metal, for storage or transport; unworked or semi-worked bone, horn, whalebone or mother-of-pearl; shells; meerschaum; yellow amber.|
|21||Household or kitchen utensils and containers; cookware and tableware, except forks, knives and spoons; combs and sponges; brushes, except paintbrushes; brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; unworked or semi-worked glass, except building glass; glassware, porcelain and earthenware.|
|22||Ropes and string; nets; tents and tarpaulins; awnings of textile or synthetic materials; sails; sacks for the transport and storage of materials in bulk; padding, cushioning and stuffing materials, except of paper, cardboard, rubber or plastics; raw fibrous textile materials and substitutes therefor.|
|23||Yarns and threads for textile use.|
|24||Textiles and substitutes for textiles; household linen; curtains of textile or plastic.|
|25||Clothing, footwear, headwear.|
|26||Lace, braid and embroidery, and haberdashery ribbons and bows; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers; hair decorations; false hair.|
|27||Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings, not of textile.|
|28||Games, toys and playthings; video game apparatus; gymnastic and sporting articles; decorations for Christmas trees.|
|29||Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs; milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt and other milk products; oils and fats for food.|
|30||Coffee, tea, cocoa and artificial coffee; rice, pasta and noodles; tapioca and sago; flour and preparations made from cereals; Bread, pastries and confectionery; chocolate; ice cream, sorbets and other edible ices; Sugar, honey, treacle; yeast, baking-powder; salt, seasonings, spices, preserved herbs; vinegar, sauces and other condiments; ice (frozen water).|
|31||Raw and unprocessed agricultural, aquacultural, horticultural and forestry products; raw and unprocessed grains and seeds; fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs; Natural plants and flowers; bulbs, seedlings and seeds for planting; live animals; foodstuffs and beverages for animals; malt.|
|32||Beers; non-alcoholic beverages; mineral and aerated waters; fruit beverages and fruit juices; syrups and other non-alcoholic preparations for making beverages.|
|33||Alcoholic beverages, except beers; alcoholic preparations for making beverages.|
|34||Tobacco and tobacco substitutes; cigarettes and cigars; electronic cigarettes and oral vaporisers for smokers; smokers’ articles; matches.|
|35||Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.|
|36||Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.|
|37||Building construction; repair; installation services.|
|39||Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.|
|40||Treatment of materials.|
|41||Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.|
|42||Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and industrial research services; design and development of computer hardware and software.|
|43||Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation.|
|44||Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services.|
|45||Legal services; security services for the physical protection of tangible property and individuals; personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.|
How to choose the right trademark class
When putting together the specification, you should stipulate the goods or services that you provide. But it should also include any goods or services that you intend to provide for customers in the future. It’s worth considering this at this stage because a registered trademark will last for ten years, and this could help you protect your business’s future endeavours as well.
This said you should not resort to proposing a specification that covers too many bases, for example, including goods or services that you do not really intend to sell. This could prove detrimental in the future, as the trademark you’ve registered may be challenged later on based on the grounds of non-use. You are also required to substantiate that the trademark you’re applying to register is in use at present in relation to the goods or services that you offer or that you intend to use the trademark as stated in the future.
When you’re in the process of evaluating which trademark classification your goods or services should be in, think about the following:
- The purpose or function of the goods
- Whether the goods consist of any raw materials
- What the service entails
- Which class corresponds to the subject matter of advice given in relation to information services being provided
What if you pick the wrong trademark class?
Once you have filed your trademark registration application, you will not be able to add any more classes, nor will you be able to add any more pre-approved terms.
That’s why it’s vital to get the right advice before going ahead with the application process, making sure that you have identified the correct class(es) for your trademark, right from the start. If you have not selected the correct information as part of your application, you will need to start the application process over.
Help on trademark classification
Use the TMclass search tool. This will help you to classify the goods and/or services that apply to you, helping you to get through your trademark registration application more quickly.
You can also get more support from intellectual property experts. Your options include:
- Email the Intellectual Property Office Classification Team with any questions you may have
- Contact a trademark solicitor specialising in Intellectual Property and the trademark registration process