Legal

Trademark Registration in India – Classification & Process (2024)

trademark classification and registration india 2024

Introduction to Trademarks

What are Trademarks ? & Why you need them?

An intellectual property known as a trademark gives its owner the sole authority to use any term, symbol, logo, phrase, design, sound, or expression. Without permission from the trademark owner, no other person, business, or organization may use such a trademark in the public domain. If the same is copied, legal action will follow. A trademark can be used to set one company’s products apart from another. A trademark is a special term, symbol, logo, or catchphrase that sets your products or services apart from competing ones on the market. It is an effective method for increasing customer trust and brand awareness. By registering your trademark, you may stop third parties from using it without your consent. Trademark Registration in India is very simple and easy. There are various trademark classes in India to apply for registration, which we will be discussing in the article.

Background of Trademarks in India

The Trade Marks Registry, established in 1940, administers the Trademarks Act of 1999 in India. The primary objective of the act is to govern and regulate trademarks and their protection and to prevent infringement of trademarks. It is always advisable to register your trademark. A registered trademark helps preserve the name and goodwill of a company in that specific territory. It also helps to familiarize your company with the target market. Trademarks can be represented in the form of graphic, symbol, text, term, or combination of these components for use by the company’s letterhead, service banners, publicity brochures, packaging, among others.

The Trade Marks Registry is established under the Act for registration of Trademarks and the Registry has offices in Mumbai, in Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata. To submit a trademark protection application in India, products/services for which the mark is being applied for must be classified according to classification provided under the Act. Indian Trademarks classification is based on the 10th edition of the “NICE Classification” (NCL), and the goods and services must be classified according to the international NICE classification.

In 2018, the Hon’ble Supreme Court highlighted the significance of categorizing trademarks under different classes in the Nandhini Deluxe v. Karnataka Co-operative Milk Producer Federation Ltd. case. The court observed that two visually distinct and different marks cannot be called deceptively similar, especially when they are used for different goods and services. The Court also concluded that there is no provision of law that expressly prohibits the registration of a trademark which is similar to an existing trademark used for dissimilar goods, even when they fall under the same class.

What is a Trademark Class?

The classifications into which different goods and services are separated under the NICE categorization are referred to as trademark classes. There are 45 classes under NCL under which goods or products fall under the first 34 classes (i.e. from Classes 1 to 34) and services under the last 11 classes from 35 to 45. Seeking help from a trademark attorney is suggested to find the best-suited class and most accurate description under such class for the products and services offered. The Nice categorization is an established categorization scheme created by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  A certain type of commodities and services make up each class. The applicant must choose the appropriate trademark class for the goods or services they are offering when submitting a trademark application. In order to avoid trademark infringement and conduct trademark searches, trademark class is essential. Each trademark class represents a specific category of goods or products or services. For example, firearms and explosives trademarks come under the 13th class, while financial and insurance services fall under the 36th class.

Services are generally identified from the alphabetical list by the divisions of operations indicated in the headers and their explanatory notes. Example: Rental facilities are categorized in the same class as that of the rented items.

During the trademark registration process, specifying the trademark classes or categories of products and services for which the trademark will be used is essential. It defines the mark and determines its usage in the industry, acting as an identifier to the mark. It’s beneficial to choose the right category and classification for a trade name. The applicant can apply for protection of the same mark under multiple classes, as may be applicable. 

Trademark Classification List

The trademark classification list consists of two types :-  

  1. Trademark Classification of Goods 
  2. Trademark Classification of Services

1. Trademark Classification for Goods

If a final product does not belong in any other class, the trademark is categorized according to its function and purpose. Products with several uses can be categorized into various types based on those uses. The trademark categories list is classified into  according to the mode of transportation or the raw materials if the functions are not covered by other divisions. Based on the substance they are composed of, semi-finished goods and raw materials are categorised. When a product is composed of many components, it is categorized according to the substance that predominates. This trademark registration class of goods contains 34 classes.

2. Trademark Classification for Goods

As stated in the headers and explanatory notes, the trademark class for services is divided into branches of activity. The same categorization applies to rental services. Services connected to advise or consultations are categorized according to the advice, consultation, or information’s subject. This trademark registration class of services contain 10 classes.

Search Trademark Classes in India

 

Detailed List of Trademark Classes of Goods in India (34 Classes)

Class

Description

Trademark Class 1

Chemical used in industry, science, photography, agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed plastics; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs;

Trademark Class 2

Paints; varnishes; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; metals in foil and powder form for painters; decorators; printers and artists;

Trademark Class 3

Bleaching preparations and substances for laundry use; cleaning; polishing; abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions;

Trademark Class 4

Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants; candles, wicks;

Trademark Class 5

Pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; disinfectants; fungicides, herbicides;

Trademark Class 6

Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; goods of metal not included in other classes;

Trademark Class 7

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.

Trademark Class 8

Hand tools and implements, hand-operated; cutlery; side arms, except firearms; razors.

Trademark Class 9

Scientific, research, navigation, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, audiovisual, optical, weighing, measuring, signaling, 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.

Trademark Class 10

Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments; artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopaedic articles; suture materials; therapeutic and assistive devices adapted for persons with disabilities; massage apparatus; apparatus, devices and articles for nursing infants; sexual activity apparatus, devices and articles.

Trademark Class 11

Apparatus and installations for lighting, heating, cooling, steam generating, cooking, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.

Trademark Class 12

Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.

Trademark Class 13

Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.

Trademark Class 14

Precious metals and their alloys; jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.

Trademark Class 15

Musical instruments; music stands and stands for musical instruments; conductors’ batons.

Trademark Class 16

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.

Trademark Class 17

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.

Trademark Class 18

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.

Trademark Class 19

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.

Trademark Class 20

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.

Trademark Class 21

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.

Trademark Class 22

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 therefore.

Trademark Class 23

Yarns and threads for textile use

Trademark Class 24

Textiles and substitutes for textiles; household linen; curtains of textile or plastic.

Trademark Class 25

Clothing, footwear, headwear.

Trademark Class 26

Lace, braid and embroidery, and haberdashery ribbons and bows; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers; hair decorations; false hair.

Trademark Class 27

Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings, not of textile.

Trademark Class 28

Games, toys and playthings; video game apparatus; gymnastic and sporting articles; decorations for Christmas trees.

Trademark Class 29

Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs; milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and other milk products; oils and fats for food.

Trademark Class 30

Coffee, tea, cocoa and substitutes therefor; 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).

Trademark Class 31

Raw and unprocessed agricultural, aqua cultural, 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

Trademark Class 32

Beers; non-alcoholic beverages; mineral and aerated waters; fruit beverages and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making non-alcoholic beverages.

Trademark Class 33

Alcoholic beverages, except beers; alcoholic preparations for making beverages.

Trademark Class 34

Tobacco and tobacco substitutes; cigarettes and cigars; electronic cigarettes and oral vaporizers for smokers; smokers’ articles; matches.

Detailed List of Trademark Classes of Services in India (11 Classes)

Class

Description

Trademark Class 35

Advertising; business management, organization and administration; office functions.

Trademark Class 36

Financial, monetary and banking services; insurance services; real estate affairs.

Trademark Class 37

Construction services; installation and repair services; mining extraction, oil and gas drilling

Trademark Class 38

Telecommunications services.

Trademark Class 39

Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.

Trademark Class 40

Treatment of materials; recycling of waste and trash; air purification and treatment of water; printing services; food and drink preservation.

Trademark Class 41

Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.

Trademark Class 42

Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis, industrial research and industrial design services; quality control and authentication services; design and development of computer hardware and software.

Trademark Class 43

Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation.

Trademark Class 44

Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, aquaculture, horticulture and forestry services.

Trademark Class 45

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.

Online Tools available for Classifying Trademarks

For classifying products and services for trademark registration in India, the following online resources are very effective.

  • Nice Classification tool by the World Intellectual Property Organization
  • TMclass tool by the European Union Intellectual Property Office

Trademark classification helps the Trademark Registry understand the market of the mark and the target audience it will set, establishing its worth in the market. It acts as an identification mark for the registrant. Therefore, it’s suggested to seek help from a trademark attorney or expert who can provide guidance on brand value creation through trademark registration.

Importance of Trademark Classification

It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of a trademark class search for safeguarding your intellectual property and brand. Here are some major justifications for why it’s important to carry out a trademark class search:

  • Preventing Conflicts: Using a trademark class search makes it easier to find already-registered trademarks that could clash with your intended mark. This averts any legal conflicts and expensive lawsuits.
  • Registration Success: You increase the likelihood of a successful registration by classifying your trademark correctly. The possibility of being rejected by the trademark office is reduced with an appropriate categorization.
  • Protection of Brand Identity: You may operate with confidence knowing that your brand is protected within your industry by registering it in the correct class.
  • Market Expansion: When your company develops, you may use a well-classified trademark to launch additional goods and services under the same way.

Process of Trademark Registration

Is it mandatory to register a trademark?

No, it is not mandatory to register a trademark in India. However, registering a trademark offers the owner of the mark a wide range of benefits and advantages, including claiming priority over the mark if infringed by another for the same or similar goods or services.

Who can apply for a trademark, and where should the application be filed?

Any person claiming to be the proprietor of the trademark can apply for registration of a trademark on a ‘used’ or ‘proposed to be used’ basis. In India, the trademark registry operates from five locations, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Chennai, which oversee applications from specific regions assigned to them.

What are some of the required documents for trademark registration?

The documents required for trademark registration include :-

  • A soft copy in case of the logo/device mark in JPG format with dimensions of 8cm x 8cm,
  • ID proof,
  • Address proof,
  • Citizenship,
  • Business registration document (if any),
  • Shop establishment license,
  • LLP/ company’s address proof,
  • Certificate of incorporation,
  • Partnership deed,
  • Startup Recognition Certificate issued by Department of Promotion of Industry and Trade (in case the applicant is a startup),
  • and UDYOG AADHAAR registration (in case the applicant is a small enterprise recognized by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

What benefits do I get on registering a trademark?

Registering a trademark confers upon the owner the exclusive right to use the trademark in relation to the goods or services in respect of which the mark is registered and to indicate by using the symbols ™ and ® and seek relief of infringement in appropriate courts in the country.

Where should I apply for my trademark registration?

The applications for trademark registration can be submitted personally at the Front Office Counter of the respective office, sent by post, or filed Online through the e-filing gateway available at https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/trademarkefiling/user/frmNewRegistration.aspx (Official Website of IP India)

How much fees will I have to pay for trademark registration?

The government fees for trademark registrations vary based on the applicant. For individuals, startups, and small enterprises, the e-filing fees are Rs. 4500, and the physical filing fees are Rs. 5000. For all other cases, the e-filing fees are Rs. 9000, and the physical filing fees are Rs. 10000.

How much time does it take to register a trademark?

Trademark registration is a judicial process and can take some time. Trademark registration usually takes between 8-15 months to obtain registration in a straightforward case, i.e., without any objections or oppositions.

What is the detailed registration process of trademarks online?

The registration process involves identifying the classes based on the goods or services to be provided where the trademark shall be used, conducting a trademark search to know if there are similar trademarks already registered in the particular class/classes the trademark is intended to be registered, and filing the trademark application with the requisite details on the https://ipindia.gov.in/ website. Thereafter the mark is scrutinized+ by the Registry, who will issue an examination report if there are any objections or conflicting marks, and provide the applicant with an opportunity to file reply and attend hearing to present its case. After the hearing, the Registry may reject the mark or accept and advertise it in the TM Journal. If the mark is advertised, it will be open for all public to oppose the mark on any ground and opposition can be filed with the Registry, who will forward a copy of the opposition to the applicant and grant an opportunity to file counter statement and attend hearing for the opposition. After the hearing it upto the discretion of the Registrar to accept and register the mark, or refuse and reject it.

Conclusion

In India’s dynamic startup ecosystem, brand identity is everything. Trademark registration stands as a cornerstone of protection, granting startups exclusive rights within specified trademark classes. Conducting a thorough trademark class search or trademark classification search is crucial to ensure your chosen mark aligns with the trademark categories you operate in. This trademark classification list helps navigate the all classes of trademarks (45 in total) and find the relevant trademark registration classes for your goods or services.                                     

By registering your trademark, you gain:

  • Exclusive Rights: Secure your brand name, logo, or slogan within your designated trademark class.
  • Legal Protection: Fight infringement and unauthorized use within your trademark classes.
  • Brand Recognition: Foster trust and brand recall with a unique, legally protected identity.
  • Competitive Advantage: Stand out from competitors with a distinct, registered trademark.

Remember, all trademark classes offer varied protection scopes. Utilize the trademark classification list or tm class search tools to make informed decisions. Investing in trademark registration empowers your startup to thrive in the Indian market, safeguarding your brand and paving the way for future success.


FAQs on Trademark Registration for Startups in India

  1. Why is trademark registration important for startups in India?
  • Protects your brand name, logo, or slogan from unauthorized use.
  • Gives you legal grounds to take action against infringement.
  • Builds brand recognition and trust with customers.
  1. What are trademark classes and why are they relevant?
  • Trademark classes categorize goods and services for registration purposes.
  • Choosing the correct class ensures proper protection for your brand.
  • India uses the Nice Classification system with 45 classes.
  1. How do I find the right trademark class for my startup?
  • Use the online Trademark Class Search tool by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks.
  • Consult the trademark class list or consult a trademark professional.
  1. Can I register my trademark in multiple classes?
  • Yes, you can register in multiple relevant classes for broader protection.
  • Each class incurs separate fees.
  1. Do I need to search for existing trademarks before registering?
  • Highly recommended! A trademark search by class helps avoid conflicts and potential rejections.
  • You can do a TM class search online or through professionals.
  1. How long does the trademark registration process take in India?
  • Typically 18-24 months, depending on complexities and potential objections.
  1. What are the costs associated with trademark registration?
  • Government fees vary based on class and application type.
  • Additional costs may incur for professional assistance, searches, etc.
  1. Can I enforce my trademark rights even without registration?
  • Limited protection exists under common law, but registration strengthens your claims significantly.
  1. What happens if someone infringes my registered trademark?
  • You can take legal action to stop the infringement and seek damages.
  • Registration makes legal enforcement easier and more effective.
  1. Where can I find more information and resources on trademark registration?

Last Updated on: 14th February 2024, 03:36 pm


Disclaimer:

The content of this article is for information purpose only and does not constitute advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer to relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc. before acting on the basis of the above write up. The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By the use of the said information, you agree that the Author / Treelife is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof.

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