Trademarks may be a name, symbol, or logo that enables customers to differentiate the products of different brands. In many ways, a trademark is an essential component of building a recognizable brand identity. Having a registered trademark provides the brand with exclusive ownership rights over its name and logo. As companies grow in popularity, the risk of other brands mimicking their logo and name to gain customers increases significantly.
Having a registered trademark makes this legally impossible by giving the business owners the right to file lawsuits in trademark infringement. However, there are different categories of trademarks, and businesses have to ensure they file their mark appropriately. This article will look at the different trademark classifications in India and why they are essential.
Why do companies register trademarks?
A trademark serves as a sign, logo, or name that helps companies establish their own brand identity. Once registered, it gives the owners the exclusive right to use, promote, and protect their trademark from infringement. Without such a system in place, companies would have to deal with competitors mimicking or replicating their brand identity to gain customers. However, Trademark laws in India prevent this by allowing the owner to file a lawsuit in case of unauthorized use of their trademark. Hence, companies register trademarks in India as it primarily helps them protect their brand identity, gain more customers, and gain legal protection.
What are the different classes of trademarks in India?
There are around 45 different trademark classes in India, with the first 34 being for goods, and the rest reserved for services. These classifications help categorize over 80,000 different products and services found across the country. The applicant must mention what class they want to register under while filing a trademark application with the Registry. The classification is important because filing for a trademark under the wrong class can lead to the rejection of the application. Additionally, it can also lead to the owner losing their trademark protection rights when it comes to enforcing the trademark in case of infringement. Since this step is crucial to getting the application approved, companies must take a legal expert's help during this process.
What is the Nice Classification for Trademarks?
India follows a system of trademark classification known as the Nice Classification. The system was developed via an Agreement signed during the Nice Diplomatic Conference in 1957. It was later revised in 1967 and again in 1977 with India acceding to the Nice Agreement in 2019. As a result, Trademark Offices in India now use this system while reviewing applications to ensure the mark falls under the right category. The system provides a broad heading or Class Header, explaining what type of goods or services comes under that category. The two online tools that help with this process are as follows;
World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO's Nice Classification tool
European Union Intellectual Property Office, or EUIPO's TMClass tool
Trademark Classification In India
Applicants also have an option to file for a trademark under multiple classes if their business involves a variety of goods and services. If a company already has a trademark registered under one class, they may file an application under a different class for the same mark if required. Hence, it must be understood that applying does not provide exclusivity overall uses, but only over the use of the mark under one class. Here's a quick look at the various classes under the Indian system, and what goods and services come under their jurisdiction.
Class 1: Chemicals used as preservatives, plastics, in agriculture and horticulture and for industrial, photography, and scientific purposes.
Class 2: Paints, printers, metals in powder form used for painting, varnishes, colorants, and preservatives against wood degradation and rust.
Class 3: Bleach, soap, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotion, and other substances used for laundry, polishing, and cleaning.
Class 4: Lubricants industrial oils, binding and wetting compositions, greases, illuminants, candles, fuels, and wicks.
Class 5: Pharmaceuticals, formulas for babies, veterinary preparations, disinfectants, dietary supplements, fungicides, and herbicides.
Class 6: Metals, allows metal hardware, tubes and pipes, and other metal goods not included in other classes.
Class 7: Machines, tools, coupling and transmission elements, incubators, and machine-operated agricultural implements.
Class 8: Hand-operated tools and machines, along with razors, cutlery, and sidearms.
Class 9: Measuring apparatus, computers, data processing equipment for scientific, photographic, and recording purposes.
Class 10: Apparatus and instruments for medical, veterinary, surgical, and dental purposes, including artificial limbs, suture materials, and orthopedic articles.
Class 11: Lighting, cooking, drying, ventilating, heating, steam generating, water supply, and sanitary equipment.
Class 12: Vehicles and apparatus for land, air, and water transportation
Class 13: Explosives, fireworks, ammunition, firearms, and projectiles.
Class 14: Precious metals, stone, chronometric instruments, and jewelry.
Class 15: Musical instruments
Class 16: Stationery, brushes, office requisites, packaging materials, typewriters, cardboard goods, and paper.
Class 17: Insulating materials, rubber, asbestos, and mica goods along with extruded plastic and flexible pipes.
Class 18: Leather, hides, animal skins, traveling bags, whips, saddlery, umbrellas, and walking sticks.
Class 19: Non-metallic building materials, pipes, transportable buildings, and monuments.
Class 20: Furniture, frames, mirrors, and goods made of wood, horn, bone, shell, ivory, amber, and plastics.
Class 21: Kitchen utensils, containers, cleaning items, combs, glass items, sponges, and earthenware.
Class 22: Ropes, tents, nets, string, tarpaulins, bags, sacks, sails, fibrous textile materials, and stuffing materials.
Class 23: Threads and yarn
Class 24: Textiles and textile goods, table covers and bedspreads
Class 25: Clothing, headgear, and footwear
Class 26: Lace embroidery, buttons, pins, needles, artificial flowers, ribbons, and hooks.
Class 27: Wall hangings, linoleum, mattings, carpets, and rugs.
Class 28: Games, sports articles, and Christmas tree decorations.
Class 29: Jams, milk products, edible oils, meat, poultry, fish, game, cooked fruits, and vegetables.
Class 30: Tapioca, bread, coffee, cocoa, rice, tea, sugar, salt, mustard, spices, baking powder, yeast, and honey.
Class 31: Agricultural products, grains, animals, fruits, seeds, vegetables, and flowers.
Class 32: beers, aerated waters, non-alcoholic drinks, syrups, fruit drinks, and fruit juices.
Class 33: Alcoholic beverages other than beers.
Class 34: Tobacco products and matches.
Class 35: Advertising and business administrative functions and services.
Class 36: Insurance, real estate, and finance matters.
Class 37: Building repairs and installation including construction
Class 38: Telecommunications.
Class 39: Travel arrangements, logistics, and transportation of goods
Class 40: Material treatment
Class 41: Education, training, sporting, and entertainment
Class 42: Scientific services, computer hardware, and software along with research services.
Class 43: Temporary accommodation and food and drink services
Class 44: Medical and veterinary services, along with beauty care, agriculture, horticulture services.
Class 45: Legal security and social services
Know more: Register Trademark