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  • Writer's pictureTodd

International Classes

The system that categorizes goods and services is the Nice Classification, created by the Nice Agreement in 1957. If you hear the term “International Class,” this is what that is referring to. There are 45 classes, or in other words, groupings or categories of goods and services. Goods can be found in classes 1-34 and classes 35-45 are for services. This series of blog posts will describe all 45 international classes!

A discussion on International Classes opens the door to answer the question, what exactly does a registered trademark get you? Here’s a fairly recent example to illustrate this point. Jason Mills is a rapper known as IDK. IDK is also an acronym that means “I Don’t Know,” so can the rapper prevent other businesses from using IDK for goods and services?

Jason Mills has a registered trademark for IDK in three International Classes. Class 9 for audio and video recordings; class 25 for apparel; and class 41 for entertainment services, namely live musical performances. So, the rapper can prevent others from using the mark to sell related goods or services.

On July 19, 2022, Popeyes announced the IDK sandwich. Food services is in international class 43. The comments on the Popeyes’ tweet shows a general misunderstanding of what exactly a trademark registration provides you with. It’s not likely that the rapper would be able to prevent Popeyes from selling a sandwich using his stage name, especially when that name is a common acronym to begin with.

A quick search of the USPTO’s database shows 31 applications involving IDK. There’s a live trademark for IDK in international class 9 for computer software. There’s an IDK Café logo in class 43 for restaurant and café services and catering services. So this company could potentially have more of a claim against Popeyes than the rapper. There’s an IDK logo for gift bags in class 16, bakery goods in class 30, live flower arrangements in class 31, and alcoholic beverages in class 33.

You get the picture. You will need to protect your trademark in all classes for all goods and services for which you actually use the mark. Sometimes this can be a challenge. Take coffee for example.

You sell coffee products. That could include international class 30 for coffee and coffee substitutes. Do you also sell coffee mugs using your mark? That’s international class 21. Also, don’t forget that if you have a coffee shop, you’re not just selling goods, you’re probably providing a service in international class 43. Are you branding and selling coffee machines? That’s international class 11, but not for non-electric coffee drippers for brewing coffee, that’s international class 21.

To add some additional complexity, there are also coordinated classes. So if you want to conduct a search for clothing, again in international class 25, there are some coordinated classes you should also search. Those include international class 14 for jewelry, class 18 for leather goods, 24 for fabrics, 35 for advertising and business services, and 42 for computer, scientific and legal services.

I know that is a lot of information, but it illustrates, again, the importance of having a trademark lawyer assist you in your application and search.

Please note that the information contained in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and not as specific legal advice. The facts of your situation may differ from this general information. It is not intended to and does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship.

If you wish to schedule a consultation, let’s work together on your trademark needs


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