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So why is the Classification of your trade mark “Nice”? It has nothing to do with being nice, but with the fact that the Nice Classification Agreement which was ratified on June 15, 1957 in Nice, France. The full name of the agreement is “Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks” or short “Nice Classification”. As of January 2018, there are currently 84 signatory nations to the Nice Agreement.
The Nice Classification is a system used to classify goods and services for registering Trademarks. It is updated every five years and its latest 11th version group products into 45 Classes (Classes 1-34 include goods and Classes 35-45 embrace services); it allows users seeking to Trademark a good or service to choose from these Classes as appropriate.
What are the advantages of applying the Nice Classification?
Use of a single classification for multiple jurisdictions filings has the advantage of the following:
Filing Trademark registration applications with reference to a single Classification system;
Since the system is recognized in numerous countries, this makes applying for Trademarks internationally a more streamlined process; and
The Nice Classification exists in several languages, this can save applicants a considerable amount of translation work if one is filing in a country with a different language.
One must understand that Trademark rights apply only in relation to certain goods and/or services. So, when registering a Trademark with most Trademark Offices, one must register their Trademark properly in the correct goods and/or services. A consistent classification system like the Nice Classification system avoids any misinterpretations of these Classes.
How do I determine the correct Class(es) for my Trademark?
It may take some research to determine the appropriate Class in which your product or service best fits. Each Trademark Class is assigned a number and each Trademark Class comprises of particular types of products or services. For example:
Trademark Class 25 includes clothing, headwear, and footwear;
Trademark Class 14 covers jewelry and watches;
Trademark Class 36 would be used in connection with financial planning services; and
Trademark Class 37 would be used for home construction services.
You must select the correct Classification to increase your probabilities of a successful Trademark registration. The questions you should answer to determine the correct Classes your Trademark would be associated with are as follows:
What are you trying to Trademark? A tangible product, a service or both; and
What are the key words that describe your goods and/or service? (The more specific the easier it is to classify your goods or services).
If you would like to find out more about the different Nice Classes visit the World Intellectual Property Organization classification data base.
What are coordinated (related) Classes?
Coordinated or related Trademark Classes cross over within the standard Nice Class categories. Most businesses diversify their activities to improve their market share. For instance, a company such as “Disney” has federally registered its Trademark in at least two dozen Classes because it sells such a wide variety of products and services under the Disney name. Your Trademark application should reflect your activity in these associated industries to protect your brand name. Choose coordinated Classes that refine your registration application and allow for any potential future expansion of your business. These related Classes can be used during a comprehensive Trademark search to identify conflicts before the submission of your Trademark application.
What are the most commonly requested Product & Service Classes?
The Classification Agreement lists over 10,000 goods and 1,000 services. These editions include changes to the agreement over the five-year revision period.
WIPO Statistics Database shows that:
The most commonly requested product Classes are:
Electric, Scientific (Class 9)
Clothing, Footwear, Headgear (Class 25)
Foodstuffs of plant origin prepared for consumption or conservation (Class 30)
The most commonly requested service Classes are:
Publicity, Business (Class 35)
Education, Entertainment (Class 41)
Computer, Science, Legal (Class 42)
It’s Nice to Think Ahead
When registering a Trademark, it is important to think ahead. Registering a Trademark in the right Nice Class and for the right “items” (specific goods and/or services) can be tricky. The right mix of general terms and specific items secures both validity and offers a broad scope of protection of the Trademark.
By the time you register your Trademark, you may not have imagined in what direction your business may go in a few years’ time, so working with a Trademark professional can help you to choose the right goods and services in the right Nice Class(es) for your developing business.
Since the use of the Nice Classification system is widespread and complicated, seeking professional help to conduct a Trademark clearance search is well-worth considering.
Disclaimer: This website is not intended to offer legal advice or to be a substitute for a consultation on a case by case basis with an attorney. The information provided above is meant for informational purposes only and may be subject to change.
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