How to classify trade marks

When applying to register a trade mark, you must use the classification system to specify the goods and/or services you'll be using it on.

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Intellectual Property Offices worldwide use a trade mark classification system that groups together similar goods or services into 45 different classes. This is often referred to as the Nice classification

Each class contains a list of pre-approved terms. These cover all the goods or services included in that class.

  • goods are listed in classes 1 to 34

  • services are listed in classes 35 to 45

All classes have a broad heading explaining what’s covered in that particular class. This is only a general indication and doesn’t include all the goods or services in that class.

Choosing the right classes for your application

It’s important you choose the correct:

  • class, or classes for your goods and/or services

  • pre-approved terms within each class

When completing your application to register a trade mark because once you file your application, you can’t add more classes or pre-approved terms.

For example

  • If the trade mark’s to be used on your own clothing line, you’d choose class 25 (clothing, footwear and headgear)

  • If the trade mark’s to be used on a shop that sells other peoples products, you’d choose class 35 (Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions) and select the pre-approved term ‘Retail services in relation to clothing’

Plan ahead

Don’t just focus on the goods and/or services that you currently use or intend to use your trade mark on. A registered trade mark lasts for 10 years, so think how you may want to expand your brand during this time.

Including classes that you think you’ll want to expand your brand into could save you time and money.

However, it is important to note that a registered trade mark can be revoked if it’s not used for five years.

For example

You file an application to register your trade mark in class 25 (clothing, footwear and headgear) and then decide to expand your brand into hand bags, which is covered by class 18.

As the application you have filed only covers you for class 25, you have to file another application to register your trade mark in class 18.

You could have avoided the extra cost making a new application by including both classes in the first application. You’d also have to pay two sets of renewal fees.

Choosing the wrong class can mean a worthless registration

Make sure you select the right class or classes for your trade mark.

For example;

If you use your trade mark on alcohol, you’d need to select the right class for its intended use, as:

  • class 1 covers alcohol used in chemical

  • class 33 covers alcoholic beverages (except beers)

Fee for extra classes

One class is included in the cost of a trade mark application. Extra classes cost an additional £50 per class.

For example

A single online trade mark application covering one class will cost £170.

The same application covering three classes will cost £270:

  • £170 for the application and first class
  • £100 for the two extra classes (£50 each)

Note that you only pay for the class, not the number of pre-approved terms you select within a class.

Help with classifying goods and services

If you’re not sure which class or classes you need, you can use the classification search tool TMclass.

This will help you search for and classify, the goods and/or services you need to apply to register your trade mark.

A TMclass tutorial is also available.

You can also:

Updates to this page

Published 2 May 2014
Last updated 26 June 2017 + show all updates
  1. How to classify trade marks has been reviewed and revised.

  2. General indication of goods and services updated.

  3. First published.

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