Trade mark classification: how to classify trade marks

Last updated: 26 February 2020

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

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When it comes to registering a trade mark you’ll need to make sure you know how to navigate the trade mark classification list and how it applies to you. It may seem simple, but it’s important to make sure you choose the correct trade mark class as part of your application because once it’s filed, you will not be able to change any of the pre-approved terms within each of the classes available.

For legal advice on trade mark classification and the registration process, get in touch with our team of expert trade mark solicitors. Or find the information you require in our Trade Mark FAQs.

Read more to learn about a key part of the trade mark registration application process that business owners often find particularly challenging – trade mark classification.

Jump to:

  1. Introduction to trade mark classification
  2. What are the different trade mark classes of goods and services?
  3. List of trade mark classes
  4. How to select the correct trade mark classification
  5. What happens if you pick the wrong trade mark classification?

Introduction to trade mark classification

When applying to register a trade mark, applicants are required to provide a statement setting out the goods or services for which protection is required. This is often described as the ‘specification’. Intellectual Property Offices all over the world use a trade mark classification system known as the Nice Classification. This system groups together similar types of goods or services into categories or ‘classes’. Each class has its own list of pre-approved terms. In order to register the trade mark, the applicant must select the class or classes relevant to the goods or services they are supplying, as well as some relevant pre-approved terms that apply.

What are the different trade mark classes of goods and services?

There are 45 different classes: 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services.

Each class has a broad heading which describes the nature of the goods or services contained in that class. However, the heading and pre-approved terms listed are not intended to be an exclusive list of goods or services covered by that class. It is provided as a general description only. Explanatory notes are also provided which explain which goods or services fall under the class headings and which goods or services do not.

List of trade mark classes

The table below sets out the different trade mark classes and general descriptions. Goods are listed in classes 1 – 34 and services are listed in classes 35 – 45.

Please check the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) website for a maintained list which includes the explanatory notes.

GOODS
CLASS DESCRIPTION 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 Paint Products 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 Cosmetics & Cleaning 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 Fuel & Lubricants Industrial oils and greases, wax; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting.
5 Pharmaceuticals 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 Metals 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 Machinery 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 Hand tools and implements, hand-operated; cutlery; side arms, except firearms; razors.
9 Electrical, Computing & Scientific 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, ear plugs for divers, nose clips for divers and swimmers, gloves for divers, breathing apparatus for underwater swimming; fire-extinguishing apparatus.
10 Medical Instruments 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 Environmental Control Apparatus and installations for lighting, heating, cooling, steam generating, cooking, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.
12 Vehicles Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.
13 Firearms Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.
14 Jewellery Precious metals and their alloys; jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.
15 Musical Instruments Musical instruments; music stands and stands for musical instruments; conductors’ batons.
16 Paper & Printed Goods 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 Rubber 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 (Not Clothing) 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 Non-Metallic Building Materials 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 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 Houseware & Glass 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 & Cords 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 Thread & Yarn Yarns and threads for textile use.
24 Textiles Textiles and substitutes for textiles; household linen; curtains of textile or plastic.
25 Clothing & Footwear Clothing, footwear, headwear.
26 Lace, Ribbon, & Embroidered Goods Lace, braid and embroidery, and haberdashery ribbons and bows; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers; hair decorations; false hair.
27 Flooring Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings, not of textile.
28 Toys & Sporting Goods Games, toys and playthings; video game apparatus; gymnastic and sporting articles; decorations for Christmas trees.
29 Meat & Processed Food 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; oilsand fats for food.
30 Staple Foods 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 Agricultural & Unprocessed Goods 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 Light Beverages Beers; non-alcoholic beverages; mineral and aerated waters; fruit beverages and fruit juices; syrups and other non-alcoholic preparations for making beverages.
33 Wines & Spirits Alcoholic beverages, except beers; alcoholic preparations for making beverages.
34 Smokers’ Goods Tobacco and tobacco substitutes; cigarettes and cigars; electronic cigarettes and oral vaporisers for smokers; smokers’ articles; matches.
SERVICES
35 Advertising, Business & Retail Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.
36 Insurance & Financial Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.
37 Construction & Repair Building construction; repair; installation services.
38 Communications Telecommunications.
39 Transportation & Storage Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.
40 Treatment & Processing Treatment of materials.
41 Education & Entertainment Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.
42 Computer, Software & Scientific 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 Hospitality Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation.
44 Medical, Beauty & Agricultural Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services.
45 Legal, Personal & Social 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 select the correct trade mark classification

The specification should set out details of the goods or services that the company is currently providing but should also seek to cover those that the business anticipates it may expand into in the future. A registered trade mark lasts 10 years, so consider the different classes in the context of how you may wish to grow your brand over time.

There may be a temptation to submit a broad specification in order to try and cover all bases; however, caution should be exercised here – if the specification is too broad and includes goods/services that the applicant does not really intend to market, the trade mark may be vulnerable to challenge at a later date on the grounds of non-use. Applicants are also required to confirm that the trade mark is currently in use in relation to the relevant goods/services or that they intend to use the trade mark in such a way.

When you’re assessing which class your goods or services belong to, consider the following:

  • the function and purpose of the goods
  • whether the goods consist of any raw materials
  • what activities are involved in the service
  • the class to which the subject matter of the advice corresponds when information services are being considered.

TMclass is a search tool – a useful resource that can assist you with searching for, and classifying, the goods and/or services terms needed to apply for trade mark registration.

Other support is also available, and options include:

What happens if you pick the wrong trade mark classification?

Once a trade mark registration application has been filed, additional classes and pre-approved terms cannot be added. So, it is important to choose the right class or classes for your goods and or services at the outset. If you discover that the wrong classification has been selected for your trade mark, a new application will need to be made.  

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What next?

Need support with the trade mark classification and registration process? Get sound legal advice from our team of intellectual property solicitors. For more information call us on 0800 689 1700, email us at enquiries@hjsolicitors.co.uk, or fill out the short form below with your enquiry.

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