Guidance

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.

Introduction

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

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

  • goods are in classes 1 to 34
  • services are 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 does not include all the goods or services in that class.

General indication of goods and services

Our search UK trade mark classes service can help you search for, and classify, the goods and/or service you need to apply for to register you trade mark.

Choosing the right classes for your application

It’s important you choose the correct class and terms, as your trade mark will only be protected for the goods and / or services you select in your application.

You cannot add extra goods or services after you have applied.

For example

If you intend to use your trade mark on your own clothing line, you’d choose class 25 (clothing, footwear and headgear).

If you intend to use the trade mark in a shop that sells other peoples products, you’d choose class 35 (Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions) and select the term ‘Retail services in relation to clothing’.

Plan ahead

What goods do you sell, or are intending to sell in the future? It is important that you only include the goods/services you intend to use the mark on now and within the next 5 years. The inclusion of goods/services which the mark is not used on within 5 years can result in unnecessary costly legal action later.

You do not need to widen your goods and services to specifically cover similar things to your own. Although the protection you gain relates to the goods/services you file for, it may still be possible to take action against infringing use (or other later filed trade marks) in respect of similar goods and services if such use would confuse the consumer.

The more specific your application the less likely it is that your application will be opposed by someone with an earlier mark, as there will be less risk of the goods and services conflicting with other.

It is important to note that a registered trade mark can be revoked if it’s not used for five years. Guidance on revocation is available.

For example

You file an application to register your trade mark for clothing in class 25. A year later you decide to expand your brand into hand bags.

As the application you have filed only covers you for clothing - class 25, you will have to file another application to register your trade mark in class 18, which covers hand bags.

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

If you are unsure what you will be offering, it may be handy to look at your business plan and review your projections. Alternatively, consider if anyone in the marketplace offers the same goods and/or services as you and compare the terms and classes you have selected.

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 chemicals
  • class 33 covers alcoholic beverages (except beers)

Fee for extra classes

Your trade mark application includes one class 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)

You only pay for the class, not the number of terms you select within a class.

Help with classifying goods and services

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

You can also:

Published 26 June 2017
Last updated 21 December 2021 + show all updates
  1. Section 'Plan ahead' has been replaced.

  2. How to classify trade marks updated.

  3. First published.