13 March 2023
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.
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. The applicant can file its trademark based on these classes. 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.
Trademark classes play a crucial role when it comes to determining if a particular class corresponds to a business's domain while dealing with trademark registration, prosecution, and other legal proceedings. 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.
It's important to note that a trademark is registered in the class or classes of goods or services that are applicable or which could identify the company with respect to its brand and product and services. The selection of the required class for trademark registration involves expert knowledge of different types of goods, products, and services. Trademark classification may vary depending on the products and services provided under that name.
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.
In trademark classification, products are classified based on their function or intent. If the functionality or purpose of a product isn't covered under a specific class, it will be classified based on its finished product. For example, furniture made from waste materials will be classified based on the final product that is derived. A multi-purpose finished product can be classified under all classes corresponding to its functions.
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.
The following is the list of the broad classification of goods and services according to which applicant can classify its goods and services:
Class 1: is for Chemicals, Resins, and Plastics.
Class 2: is for Varnishes, Paints, and Anti-corrosion substances
Class 3: is for Cosmetics, Hair Oils and Lotions, and Cleaning Preparations
Class 4: is for Greases, Lubricants, and Fuels
Class 5: is for Pharmaceutical, Medical, and Sanitary Preparations
Class 6: is for Goods of Metals and Alloys, Ironmongery and Hardware Products
Class 7: is for Equipments and Machineries
Class 8: is for Hand-operated Devices and Tools
Class 9: is for Scientific, Electrical, and Technological Apparatus
Class 10: is for Medical and Surgical Instruments and Apparatus
Class 11: is for Heating, Cooling, Drying, and Refrigerating Apparatus
Class 12: is for Land, Air, and Water Vehicles
Class 13: is for Explosives and Firearms
Class 14: is for Precious Metals and Stones, and Jewellery Items
Class 15: is for Diverse Musical Instruments
Class 16: is for Paper Goods, Stationery Products, and Printed Materials
Class 17: is for Rubber and Plastic Goods and Products
Class 18: is for Products made of Hides and Leathers
Class 19: is for Various Non-Metallic Building Materials)
Class 20: is for Furniture, and other precious household Articles
Class 21: is for Kitchen Utensils, Household Appliances and Glass products
Class 22: is for Ropes and Cordage, Fibres, and Stuffing materials
Class 23: is for Threads and Yarns for uses in textiles
Class 24: is for Textiles and Fabrics
Class 25: is for Apparels and Clothing
Class 26: is for Fringes and Fancy Goods and Products
Class 27: is for Floor Coverings and Wall Hangings
Class 28: is for Toys, Sporting, and Sports Goods
Class 29: is for Meats and Processed Food Items
Class 30: is for Auxiliary Food and Beverage Items
Class 31: is for Agricultural and Horticultural Products
Class 32: is for Beers, Light Beverages, and Fruit Juices
Class 33: is for Wines and Spirits
Class 34: is for Tobacco Products and Smokers' Articles
Class 35: is for Advertising and Business Services
Class 36: is for Insurance and Financial Services
Class 37: is for Building, Construction and Repair Services
Class 38: is for Telecommunication Services
Class 39: is for Transportation and Storage Services
Class 40: is for Treatment of Materials Services
Class 41: is for Education and Entertainment Services
Class 42: is for Computer, Scientific and Legal Services
Class 43: is for Hotels and Restaurants Services
Class 44: is for Medical, Beauty, and Agricultural Services
Class 45: is for Personal and Social Services
For classifying products and services for trademark registration in India, the following online resources are very effective.
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.
In conclusion, understanding trademark classification for goods and services is essential for trademark registration and brand value creation. It's vital to choose the correct classification to avoid any legal disputes and establish your mark's worth in the market.
1. What are trademark classes?
Trademark classes are a system of categorizing goods and services for trademark registration and legal disputes. They help define the scope of protection a trademark can offer and identify the specific products or services that a trademark is associated with.
2. How many trademark classes are there?
There are 45 trademark classes under the Nice Classification system, an international system for classifying goods and services for the registration of trademarks.
3. Why is it important to classify trademarks?
Classification helps to ensure that trademarks can be easily searched and located and protect them from infringement. It also simplifies the registration process and helps administrative bodies understand the target products or services associated with a trademark.
4. How do I determine the appropriate trademark class?
Choosing the right trademark class can be complicated and requires knowledge of the business activities, products, and services associated with your trademark. Seeking expert advice from a trademark attorney can ensure that you choose the correct class for your trademark and minimize the risk of legal disputes.
5. Can a trademark belong to multiple classes?
Yes, a trademark can belong to multiple classes, depending on the scope of the products or services associated with the mark. For example, a shoe company may register their trademark under both Class 25 (Clothing, footwear, and headwear) and Class 35 (Advertising and Business) to protect themselves from potential infringement across these industries.
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