For purposes of registering trademarks and service marks, the Nice Agreement is a treaty among over 80 contracting states that establishes international classifications of goods and services, also known as the Nice Classification or the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks. The classifications are updated about every five years and are published by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
How Do You Classify a Trademark?
With a total of 45 individual classes, the classifications allow applicants seeking to trademark a good or service to choose from the class that is most fit for their mark. The Nice Union has set forth general remarks, class headings and numbers, as well as explanatory notes for each class. If you’re not sure whether your idea is a good or a service, or whether it qualifies as both, the list provides lengthy explanations, definitions and examples of the criteria used to establish whether something is to be deemed a good or service. Classes between 1 and 34 are listed goods ranging anywhere between textiles, beverages, furniture and jewelry. Classes between 35 and 45 are listed services that include business and financial management, construction, repairs and transportation. Each classification is distinct in a sense that there is an explanation for what the good or service is and what it isn’t. Surely enough, an applicant may choose a number of classifications that best fit their brand or business.
Do You Need to Classify a Trademark?
The answer is absolutely! The purpose of the creation of international classes is to avoid confusing similarity between other brands and to better portray distinctiveness between trade names that are alike in nature. Classifying your trademark gives you exclusive rights to the use of your trade name and logo and protects your intellectual property associated with the brand. Each classification is extremely important. By misclassifying your good or service, you could potentially end up foregoing many protections that come with your registration. For example, say you want to trademark your own brand of alcoholic beverages which would be class 33 on the schedule, however, you state on your application class 32, which is all beers and non-alcoholic beverages including mineral waters and fruit juices. This misclassified brand is now open to potential competitors who may have a similar idea and correctly register under class 33. Therefore, to avoid likelihood of confusion, it is best to correctly differentiate your mark with a proper classification.