All you need to know to understand the importance of correct trademark classes and the classification of goods and services
For traders, manufacturers, business owners, service providers or even startups, seeking protection for your brand is of utmost importance. In fact, it should be carefully dealt with before promoting your goods and services to the public.
It is impossible to register a trademark without first identifying the goods and services of interest. The process involved can be quite tedious and confusing but is a key component in the overall trademark strategy.
The question is, how do we know what goods or services fall under which category?
First and foremost, we need to identify the class(es) of interest using the Nice Classification. The Nice Classification was established by the Nice Agreement in 1957 and has been used as a guide for the international classification of goods and services. There are 45 classes as per this classification – 35 of them are related to goods and the other 10, to services.
The class headings of the 45 trademark classes are as follows:
|Chemical products for use in industry, science and agriculture, including those which go into the making of products belonging to other classes.
|Paints, colorants and preparations used for protection against corrosion.
|Non-medicated toiletry preparations as well as cleaning preparations for use in the home and other environments.
|Industrial oils and greases, fuels and illuminants.
|Pharmaceuticals and other preparations for medical or veterinary purposes.
|Unwrought and partly wrought common metals, including ores, as well as certain goods made of common metals.
|Machines and machine tools, motors and engines.
|Hand-operated tools and implements for performing tasks such as drilling, shaping, cutting and piercing.
|Apparatus and instruments for scientific or research purposes, audiovisual and information technology equipment, as well as safety and life-saving equipment.
|Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus, instruments and articles generally used for the diagnosis, treatment or improvement of function or condition of persons and animals.
|Environmental control apparatus and installations, in particular, for the purposes of lighting, cooking, cooling and sanitizing.
|Vehicles and apparatus for the transport of people or goods by land, air or water.
|Firearms and pyrotechnic products.
|Precious metals and certain goods made of precious metals or coated therewith, as well as jewellery, clocks and watches, and component parts therefore.
|Musical instruments, their parts and their accessories.
|Paper, cardboard and certain goods made of those materials, as well as office requisites.
|Electrical, thermal and acoustic insulating materials and plastics for use in manufacture in the form of sheets, blocks and rods, as well as certain goods made of rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica or substitutes therefore.
|Leather, imitations of leather and certain goods made of those materials.
|Materials, not of metal, for building and construction.
|Furniture and parts therefor, as well as certain goods made of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastic.
|Small, hand-operated utensils and apparatus for household and kitchen use, as well as cosmetic and toilet utensils, glassware and certain goods made of porcelain, ceramic, earthenware, terracotta or glass.
|Canvas and other materials for making sails, rope, padding, cushioning and stuffing materials and raw fibrous textile materials.
|Natural or synthetic yarns and threads for textile use.
|Fabrics and fabric covers for household use.
|Clothing, footwear and headwear for human beings.
|Dressmakers' articles, natural or synthetic hair for wear, and hair adornments, as well as small decorative items intended to adorn a variety of objects, not included in other classes.
|Products intended to be added as coverings to previously constructed floors and walls.
|Mainly toys, apparatus for playing games, sports equipment, amusement and novelty items, as well as certain articles for Christmas trees.
|Foodstuffs of animal origin, as well as vegetables and other horticultural comestible products which are prepared or preserved for consumption.
|Foodstuffs of plant origin, except fruits and vegetables, prepared or preserved for consumption, as well as auxiliaries intended for the improvement of the flavour of food.
|Land and sea products not having been subjected to any form of preparation for consumption, live animals and plants as well as foodstuffs for animals.
|Non-alcoholic beverages, as well as beer.
|Alcoholic beverages, essences and extracts.
|Tobacco and articles used for smoking, as well as certain accessories and containers related to their use.
|Advertising, business management, business administration, office functions.
|Services rendered in financial and monetary affairs and services rendered in relation to insurance contracts of all kinds.
|Services rendered by contractors or subcontractors in the construction or making of permanent buildings, as well as services rendered by persons or organizations engaged in the restoration of objects to their original condition or in their preservation without altering their physical or chemical properties.
|Services for the transport of people, animals or goods from one place to another (by rail, road, water, air or pipeline) and services necessarily connected with such transport, as well as services relating to the storing of goods in a warehouse or other buildings for their preservation or guarding.
|Services not included in other classes, rendered by the mechanical or chemical processing, transformation or production of objects or inorganic or organic substances, including custom manufacturing services. For the purposes of classification, the production or manufacturing of goods is considered a service only in cases where it is effected for the account of another person to their order and specification. If the production or manufacturing is not being performed to fulfil an order for goods which meet the customer's particular needs, requirements, or specifications, then it is generally ancillary to the maker's primary commercial activity or goods in trade. If the substance or object is marketed to third parties by the person who processed, transformed or produced it, then this would generally not be considered a service.
|Services rendered by persons or institutions in the development of the mental faculties of persons or animals, as well as services intended to entertain or to engage the attention.
|Services provided by persons, individually or collectively, in relation to the theoretical and practical aspects of complex fields of activities; such services are provided by members of professions such as chemists, physicists, engineers, computer programmers, etc.
|Services provided by persons or establishments whose aim is to prepare food and drink for consumption and services provided to obtain bed and board in hotels, boarding houses or other establishments providing temporary accommodation.
|Medical care, hygienic and beauty care given by persons or establishments to human beings and animals; it also includes services relating to the fields of agriculture, horticulture and forestry.
|Legal services, and security services for the physical protection of tangible property and individuals, personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.
*The above list is not exhaustive or limited to the above headings
The content of each class is rather specific and it is critical to choose the class(es) carefully as your trademark is only protected for the class(es) you have selected under your trademark registration.
You may view the detailed listing of the latest version of the Nice Classification (11th edition) which came into effect on 1st January 2020.
Goods and services
Once the trademark class(es) has/have been identified, you will need to list the exact goods and services in each class. It is recommended that you establish a broad list to obtain the best possible coverage. Generally, there is no limit to the number of goods and services one wishes to cover under one class. However, in some countries such as China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand, there are limitations as to the number of goods/services within a class itself and additional items are subject to additional official fees.
How many classes can be protected under a trademark?
Good question! Of course, the choice of the number of classes is limitless when considering how many classes one would like to seek protection for. This is dependent on the goods or services you intend to provide (be it for current or for future use) but also on the budget you have set aside in this respect. Indeed, the fees related to trademark filings will depend on the number of classes.
Strategy is key in this process so you can maximise your budget. So, choose wisely.
Can I amend my trademark application if I have chosen the wrong goods/services?
It is generally impossible to amend the details of a pending trademark application or a registered trademark registration. Also, there is no refund for the official fees paid to the trademark registry. So if you have indeed made the wrong choice of trademark class(es) and/or goods and services, you will have no choice but to restart the whole filing process of a fresh trademark application to obtain decent protection and pay unnecessary fees in this regard.
Find out more about how to register your trademark in Singapore.
At IPHub Asia, we help businesses secure trademark protection. Contact us if you have doubts, or wish to learn more about the various trademark classes and the classification of goods and services. We will do our best to assist you with a smooth trademark registration.
You can also visit our website to learn about the IP and trademark services we offer.