Do I need to know my trademark class to file a trademark?

You must include the appropriate trademark class designation when you complete the registration application, because almost all Trademark Offices around the world use industrial and commercial groupings to efficiently search for potential infringement issues. These regulatory bodies and administrators need a way to differentiate the numerous trademarks used around the world. Separating marks into classes that are divided into goods and services is a simple first step in reviewing an application for a new mark. When evaluating the strengths or weaknesses of the proposed trademark, a classification system facilitates the association of 'like' with 'like' and thus, helps match competitors more efficiently in similar or linked industries.

Another reason behind needing to know which trademark class(es) cover your mark is for your protection. When you use the most appropriate class(es) for classification, you will compare your trademark to marks already used by competitors in your chosen markets. How does the uniqueness and distinctiveness of your mark compare to other marks? Does the trademark offer you a competitive edge regarding your brand’s message? 

Using a classification system simplifies public searches of your mark by competitors in your industry and makes it easier for competitors to avoid any infringement issues. The USPTO's Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual is one of many sources to lookup trademarks online. You need to choose a trademark class when you apply for your mark to help a trademark office notify your target audience of your mark. A trademark class helps when both researching pre-existing marks as well as searching for a potential property claims to avoid future infringement issues.

If you are unaware of which class or classes offer the best protection for your goods and services, familiarize yourself with the NCL listing. We alternatively recommend ordering a professionally prepared Trademark Comprehensive Study. By opting for this, our experienced attorneys will be able to review your product or service description and match it to the most appropriate class(es).  If they have any questions or need more clarification, they will contact you.


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