While we have covered off types of trademarks in Australia, we’ve only briefly touched on trademark classes. When preparing to register your trademark you are required to define which class of goods and services this is associated with.
Knowing which trademark classes apply in Australia for your trademark can help to ensure you are adequately protected. In this guide, we’ll look at classes of trademarks and how to properly select these for your trademark application.
When you select your trademark and apply to have it formally registered, you need to list the specific goods and services you intend to use the trademark for. It is not simply choosing a memorable logo or catchy phrase for your business!
For example, if you are an electrician, you are going to assign installation and repair services to your trademark but you may also need to include a goods classification relating to the provision of electrical devices. You must select all appropriate fields as part of your application.
Classes of trademarks matter as it is the best way to ensure you are properly protecting your business interests. Failure to select all the appropriate categories could see you facing problems defending against infringement as you are only granted exclusive rights to use your trademark for the goods and services outlined in your application.
Frustratingly, it can also see you having to complete and submit an entirely new application as modifications of coverage are not permitted once the trademark has been applied for. This is both a time-consuming and costly exercise.
Currently, there are 45 trade mark classes to choose from. Classes 1 to 34 are for goods and 35 to 45 are for services. Below is a brief indication of what each category covers, for more detailed information please see IP Australia’s website.
Classes 1-34 cover Goods including but not limited to:
Classes 35-45 cover Services including but not limited to:
It is important to not only select the right categories for proper protection but to avoid issues with your application. Adding the wrong goods or services to your application could result in a rejection of your trademark application.
So how do you know which category to select? Particularly as the listings are so exhaustive.
Thankfully, IP Australia has a handy tool to make this easier. Known as the Pick List, it helps you find the right classes of goods and services to link with your trademark and reduces your chances of making a mistake.
The Pick List works by allowing users to search for full terms, descriptors or keywords related to their business. The search results then help you match your trademark with the appropriate class of goods and services - potentially flagging those that you hadn’t considered.
As well as the Pick List, here are our top tips for how to select the right classes for your application.
Do you solely provide a service or do you only produce goods? Are you providing both? If the former, you can skip looking at the latter entirely and vice versa. If you offer a mix of both then we suggest asking yourself these questions.
For example, if you are a cleaner do you provide cleaning services utilising someone else's products or do you make your own and use those? If it’s the latter you’ll need to ensure you have trademarked both the goods and the service you provide.
When using the Pick List, don’t perform narrow searches using minimal keywords or phrases. You’ll want to look at all possible variations of a word to ensure you have covered all bases. For hairdressing, as an example, you should also search the words hairdresser, hair, hair cutting etc.
This narrows down the class search and makes sure you haven't missed adding any appropriate ones to your application.
Hoping to expand your business in the future? If so, do not be too specific in your classifications as this will pigeonhole you in future. If you produce goods related to make-up and cosmetics, don't narrow it down to only lip products or face powder, for example.
Keep it broader so that you can develop additional products if desired that still come under the umbrella of the classification you nominated.
Once you nominate a class, you’ll need to select what items you want protection for within that class. Given the sheer number of often conflicting items, you’ll need to only mark what is relative to you.
Take category four of goods for instance, this class includes lanolin for cosmetic use as well as automotive fuels and wicks for candles. So you must look deeper into the classifications and tweak your coverage by selecting the right items.
If you are struggling with this aspect of your trademark application or simply don’t have the time to delve into every class and item to mark what matters, then IP Guardian can help.
As skilled and experienced patent and trademark attorneys, we have spent years managing these applications with ease. We ensure all appropriate classes of goods and services are included. We work to deliver a margin of flexibility in these for future growth while also delivering optimal protection within your trademark.
For expert advice that is affordable for businesses of all sizes, contact the team at IP Guardian today at 02 9071 0130.
Registered Patent and Trade Mark Attorney with significant experience obtaining all forms of registered intellectual property. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Intellectual Property. I’m passionate about showing my clients how they can protect their brands through trademark registrations.
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