Trademark Registration: What Are International Classes?

Detroit Trademark Attorneys: Trademark Classes Generally

International Classes, or ICs, are the categorizations for differing goods and services for which one may apply for trademark protection, both in the United States and elsewhere. 

As most countries have their own, unique internal process for protecting trademarks while many products and services are sold internationally, it was necessary for a cross-border system of categorizations to be developed that would offer some uniformity from country to country. 

The Committee of Experts of the Nice Union thus concocted the current system of International Classes, and these classes are published by the World International Property Organization (WIPO). 

Detroit Trademark Attorneys: Breakdown of the Classes

Classes 1-34 identify different goods (products) that may be sold in interstate commerce, from “chemicals” (Class 1) to “musical instruments” (Class 15) to “smokers’ articles” (Class 34). 

Classes 35-45 identify the different services that may likewise be offered in interstate commerce, from “advertising and business” (Class 35) to “personal services” (Class 45). 

Detroit Trademark Attorneys: What Do I Do With International Classes?

When you draft your trademark application, you will be asked which IC or ICs your trademark is associated with. That is, what do you sell? Does your product or service fit into a single IC or multiple ICs? 

Picking the wrong IC can result in the US Patent and Trademark Office, with which you file your application, filing a negative “office action” response to your application and perhaps denying it once that is resolved. 

Picking too many ICs can result in a higher-than-necessary application fee, as, depending on which sort of application you file, you will pay a fee based on the number of ICs included. 

International Classes: The Bottom Line

The bottom line with regard to the ICs is that you must consider carefully what you are selling now–and what you plan to sell. Does your storefront name identify multiple types of goods or services, and, if not, do you plan to offer different goods and services in the future that you wish your trademark to represent? 

Retention of a knowledgeable trademark registration attorney who will assist you in identifying the proper International Classes for your business is crucial. 

If you are interested in discussing the filing of an initial trademark application, please contact us at (734) 743-1489 to discuss your matter. 

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