An explanation outlining the different forms and classes of trademarks
Businesses use brands to stand out of the crowd. These are protected by trademarks ("trade marks") in various forms within a number of classes.
Disclaimer: This FAQ should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only. You are urged to consult your own solicitor on any specific legal questions you may have.
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by Dr Martin Douglas Hendry
All about registered trademarks
Registered trademarks protect signs that perform the function of identifying the source of a business's goods or services, distinguishing them from 3rd parties.
A trademark also only protects goods and services within certain classifications, which have to be specified within the trademark application.
In this post, we will look at what forms trademarks take, as well as a list of the classifications of goods and services.
What forms can a trademark take?
Broadly speaking trademarks can take the form of:
- A word (e.g. “Apple” for Apple Inc.)
- A logo (e.g. The Nike “swoosh”)
- Shapes (e.g. the Toblerone “triangle” form factor)
- A position (e.g. seen in some clothing and shoe designs, where a shape mark without specific position would be too broad)
- A single colour (e.g. Cadbury “purple”)
- A combination of colours (e.g. the attempted Red Bull “blue and silver”)
- A sound (e.g. the 20th Century Fox “fanfare”)
- A motion graphic (e.g. Toshiba’s mark, registered in 2019)
- Multimedia (e.g. Netflix’s “opening”, combining the visual and sound element)
- A hologram (e.g. holographic surface of the American Express card)
Notably, certain types of trademarks are harder to secure than others, especially if they are more unusual.
If you are looking to secure a trademark for your business, get in touch with our team by clicking here.
What are the different classes of trademarks?
Different classes exist within the trademark register.
When applying for a trademark, the applicant specifies exactly what kinds of goods or services they wish to protect under the mark.
Oftentimes, a company will register their marks in a range of classes – in order to protect both the main things they do as well as secondary goods.
For example, Coca-Cola may have trademarks registered for Class 32 for its beverages, but also in Class 25 for clothing.
In addition to this, when registering in busy classes, registrants will often specify more accurately what the mark will protect to improve the likelihood of successful registration.
Below is a list of the classification of trademarks.
The classification system used in the UK is based on the Nice Classification system, which is used in many countries around the world.
Within this system classes 1-34 are for different types of goods, whereas classes 35-45 are for different types of services.
If you would like to register a trademark to protect your goods or services, contact our team.
Class 1: Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry; unprocessed plastics in the form of liquids, chips or granules.
Class 2: Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists.
Class 3: Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices; deodorants for personal use.
Class 4: Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting; combustible fuels, electricity and scented candles.
Class 5: Pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides; foods and beverages which are adapted for medical purposes; air deodorising preparations.
Class 6: Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; ironmongery, small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; safes; goods of common metal not included in other classes; ores; unwrought and partly wrought common metals; metallic windows and doors; metallic framed conservatories.
Class 7: Machines and machine tools; motors and engines (except for land vehicles); parts of engines and motors; machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles); exhausts and starters (for vehicles); vacuum cleaners; electric drills; electric screwdrivers; incubators for eggs.
Class 8: Hand tools and hand operated implements; cutlery; side arms; razors; electric razors and hair cutters.
Class 9: Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, supervision, life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin operated apparatus; cash registers; calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire-extinguishing apparatus; recorded media, computer hardware and firmware; computer software; software downloadable from the Internet; downloadable electronic publications; compact discs; digital music; telecommunications apparatus; computer games equipment adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor; mouse mats; mobile phone accessories; contact lenses, spectacles and sunglasses; clothing for protection against injury, accident, irradiation or fire; furniture adapted for laboratory use.
Class 10: Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments, artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopaedic articles; suture materials; sex aids; massage apparatus; supportive bandages; furniture adapted for medical use.
Class 11: Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes; air conditioning apparatus; electric kettles; gas and electric cookers; vehicle lights and vehicle air conditioning units.
Class 12: Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; wheelchairs; motors and engines for land vehicles; vehicle body parts and transmissions.
Class 13: Firearms; ammunition and projectiles, explosives; fireworks.
Class 14: Precious metals and their alloys; jewellery, costume jewellery, precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments, clocks and watches.
Class 15: Musical instruments; stands and cases adapted for musical instruments.
Class 16: Paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials; printed matter; book binding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists’ materials; paint brushes; typewriters packaging materials; printers’ type; printing blocks; disposable nappies of paper for babies; printed publications; paint boxes for children; cheque book holders.
Class 17: Rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials; plastics in extruded form for use in manufacture; semi-finished plastics materials for use in further manufacture; stopping and insulating materials; flexible non-metallic pipes.
Class 18: Leather and imitations of leather; animal skins, hides; trunks and travelling bags; handbags, rucksacks, purses; umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery; clothing for animals.
Class 19: Non-metallic building materials; non-metallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch and bitumen; non-metallic transportable buildings; non-metallic monuments; non-metallic framed conservatories, doors and windows.
Class 20: Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; articles made of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum or plastic which are not included in other classes; garden furniture; pillows and cushions.
Class 21: Household or kitchen utensils and containers; combs and sponges; brushes; brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; steel wool; articles made of ceramics, glass, porcelain or earthenware which are not included in other classes; electric and non-electric toothbrushes.
Class 22: Ropes, string, nets, tents, awnings, tarpaulins, sails, sacks for transporting bulk materials; padding and stuffing materials which are not made of rubber or plastics; raw fibrous textile materials.
Class 23: Yarns and threads, for textile use.
Class 24: Textiles and textile goods; bed and table covers; travellers’ rugs, textiles for making articles of clothing; duvets; covers for pillows, cushions or duvets.
Class 25: Clothing, footwear, headgear.
Class 26: Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers; badges for wear; tea cosies.
Class 27: Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile); wallpaper.
Class 28: Games and playthings; playing cards; gymnastic and sporting articles; decorations for Christmas trees; childrens’ toy bicycles.
Class 29: Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, fruit sauces; eggs, milk and milk products; edible oils and fats; prepared meals; soups and potato crisps.
Class 30: Coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, tapioca, sago, artificial coffee; flour and preparations made from cereals, bread, pastry and confectionery, ices; honey, treacle; yeast, baking-powder; salt, mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice; sandwiches; prepared meals; pizzas, pies and pasta dishes.
Class 31: Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products; live animals; fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals; malt; food and beverages for animals.
Class 32: Beers; mineral and aerated waters; non-alcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices; syrups for making beverages; shandy, de-alcoholised drinks, non-alcoholic beers and wines.
Class 33: Alcoholic wines; spirits and liqueurs; alcopops; alcoholic cocktails.
Class 34: Tobacco; smokers’ articles; matches; lighters for smokers.
Class 35: Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions; electronic data storage; organisation, operation and supervision of loyalty and incentive schemes; advertising services provided via the Internet; production of television and radio advertisements; accountancy; auctioneering; trade fairs; opinion polling; data processing; provision of business information; retail services connected with the sale of [list specific goods].
Class 36: Insurance; financial services; real estate agency services; building society services; banking; stockbroking; financial services provided via the Internet; issuing of tokens of value in relation to bonus and loyalty schemes; provision of financial information.
Class 37: Building construction; repair; installation services; installation, maintenance and repair of computer hardware; painting and decorating; cleaning services.
Class 38: Telecommunications services; chat room services; portal services; e-mail services; providing user access to the Internet; radio and television broadcasting.
Class 39: Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement; distribution of electricity; travel information; provision of car parking facilities.
Class 40: Treatment of materials; development, duplicating and printing of photographs; generation of electricity.
Class 41: Education; providing of training; entertainment; on-line entertainment; sporting and cultural activities; lottery services; electronic games services provided by means of the Internet; the provision of on-line electronic publications.
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; computer programming; installation, maintenance and repair of computer software; computer consultancy services; design, drawing and commissioned writing for the compilation of web sites; creating, maintaining and hosting the web sites of others; design services.
Class 43: Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation; restaurant, bar and catering services; provision of holiday accommodation; booking and reservation services for restaurants and holiday accommodation; retirement home services; creche services.
Class 44: Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services; dentistry services; medical analysis for the diagnosis and treatment of persons; pharmacy advice; garden design services.
Class 45: Legal services; conveyancing services; security services for the protection of property and individuals; social work services; consultancy services relating to health and safety; consultancy services relating to personal appearance; provision of personal tarot readings; dating services; funeral services and undertaking services; fire-fighting services; detective agency services.
As you can see, the classes themselves can be quite broad and tricky to navigate.
In order to get the best possible protection for a brand, it is important to author the best possible trademark specification. This ensures that the mark is both likely to be registered, as well as achieving the broadest possible protection.
If you are looking to secure a trademark, get in touch with our team to learn more.
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