USPTO Classification of Goods and Services

A trademark application cannot be filed without identifying specific goods and/or services. You cannot simply trademark a word or phrase in the abstract without reference to the products sold or to be sold. The USPTO and nearly all other foreign trademark offices categorize particular goods and services under specific classes. A trademark class assists in the searching of trademark filings that may be too close (“confusingly similar”).

The number of classes also determines the government filing fee for a trademark application. Currently, the USPTO charges a reduced electronic filing fee of $275 per class. For Intent-To-Use applications, the USPTO fee for a Statement of Use is currently $100 per class.

In what class(es) do my goods or services belong?

You can search the USPTO Trademark ID Manual to see which class covers a particular product or service. If you’re thinking of applying for a mark to cover multiple goods or services, it would be helpful to see if all of your products fall under a single class in order to save money.

Does the USPTO allow multi-class trademark applications?

Yes, an applicant can file a single U.S. trademark application covering multiple classes, although we generally recommend filing separate single-class applications. In a multi-class application, individual classes may be eventually divided out.

Furthermore, the applicant can initially pay for only one class upfront. The USPTO will eventually issue an Office Action requiring payment for the additional classes. This approach allows the applicant to avoid paying the filing fees for any additional classes which the applicant chooses to delete from the application (e.g., in response to a partial rejection).

How do trademark classes relate to rejections (likelihood of confusion)?

It is possible, and in fact common, for the USPTO to reject a trademark application for goods in one class based on a registration for a similar mark covering goods or services in a different class. In other words, the fact that your pending application covers a different class than that of a prior registration does not mean you’re free and clear to register your mark.

The USPTO looks at the relatedness of the goods/services, which involves and the extent to which goods/services in one application overlap with those in another filing.

Can more goods/services be added to the same class after filing a trademark application?

No, the USPTO does not allow an applicant to broaden the scope of the identification of goods and services after the initial filing. An applicant can only clarify (e.g., provide specific examples of a type of product) or narrow the scope (e.g., delete certain goods/services).

A new trademark application would be required for adding goods or services that go beyond the scope of a prior application.

How do classes affect costs?

The higher the number of classes, the greater the costs. The USPTO charges a filing fee per class. Attorney’s fees will vary depending upon the firm. Our firm currently charges a flat rate of $725 per class.

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Vic Lin

Startup Patent Attorney, Cofounder at Innovation Capital Law Group
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