The numerous trademark classes, some of which have misleading class names, can make a trademark search by class somewhat challenging. A successful trademark search can be conducted using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database of the United States Office of Patents and Trademarks (USPTO). Learn more about trademark registration class list.
Trademark Classes Overview
There are 45 trademark classes in the USPTO’s trademark classification system, including 34 goods classes and 11 services classes. In some trademark classes, some goods and services seem out of place given their names. Among the items in the meat, fish, and poultry class (class 29) are:
Jam (made of fruit pulp)
Potato chips (another vegetable product)
Goods and services are not lumped together by the USPTO. Bags of coffee that are sold to retail shops are class 30 goods. Coffee shops, however, provide services in class 43. Conversely, a business selling roasted beans in a coffee shop is simultaneously selling goods and rendering services. As a result, it must be registered under two classes – goods and services.
An applicant for a trademark must select the class of goods or services that the trademark should protect, as well as pinpoint the goods or services the company intends to offer. In other words, only the goods and services identified in the trademark application can be protected by the chosen trademark.
Wrong Trademark Class
The trademark office can reject a trademark application if the wrong trademark class is selected without refunding the registration fee. In other words, a wrong trademark class choice can waste several months and hundreds of dollars. If you register a trademark in the wrong class and your error in class choice goes unnoticed, you could still be in trouble. You could be unknowingly infringing on another company’s trademark rights.
If your mistake in class selection is discovered, you could lose your registered trademark to a competitor in the right class, and you won’t be able to recover it. The mistake you made in class choice won’t be resolved by admitting it after registration. It will not be possible to switch to the correct class after registration. In fact, you won’t be allowed to make any changes to the goods or services you have indicated. In order to register a trademark, you must start from scratch.
Trademark Electronic Search System
Class choice is an important part of trademark registration, but it is not easy to get it right. Thus, a trademark search can help a business avoid undesirable registration mistakes and the associated hassles. Use the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to do so.
Search by Class
Search by class to retrieve a particular class and all its related classes. When searching for wine, you should enter “033[CC], which will retrieve class 033, where wine is categorized, along with other food classes related to wine. Prior to searching by class, you should familiarize yourself with all the available class codes in the USPTO’s acceptable descriptions manual.
Trademark rights of another business shouldn’t be infringed upon, especially if the owner has registered his or her trademark. Regardless of whether it is true, a violation of another business’s trademark rights will be considered intentional under the law. Defaulters may also be responsible for attorney fees and any other damages claimed by trademark holders.
A trademark’s federal registration can be verified at the USPTO’s website. Check the trademark holder’s home state database as well. Alternatives include websites that allow users to search for trademarks registered in the 50 states of the United States. SAEGIS, for example, is a Thomson service. In particular, this idea is helpful for business owners who plan on operating in more than one state.
It is likely that trademark seekers will find hundreds of trademarks that appear the same throughout the country, but they must know how to filter their results to decide which ones are protected.
UpCounsel’s marketplace can help you with trademark search by class. UpCounsel only accepts the top 5 percent of lawyers. With an average of 14 years of legal experience, UpCounsel’s lawyers have worked for companies including Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.
Frequently asked questions for trademark registration