Trademark registration: classification

Many people interested in trademark registration wonder what classification is. Classification is however an important part in trademark registration. But what is it really? 


Classification is an error-prone part within the procedure of trademark registration. The reason is that few people understand what classification is. Furthermore, few people seem to understand that classification actually determines the scope of protection of a trademark. However, I’m not talking about completing the classification field in the trademark application, as this is child’s play. After all, the Benelux and EU trademark offices offer tools within their application processes to facilitate the completion of the classification field. In other words, It’s about determining the scope of the classification. A poorly drafted classification will namely result in insufficient coverage or in a conflict with another trademark. Therefore, always contact a BMM certified trademark attorney in case of any doubts.  

Goods and services 

In order to fully understand what classification is, it’s important to know that a trademark is always registered for certain goods (products) and/or services. Doing a trademark registration therefore means that you will only get a monopoly for certain products and/or services. This is why it is possible for identical trademarks to co-exist. For example, there are at least 3 trademarks “Ajax”: one for fire extinguishers, one for a soccer club, and one for a detergent. Therefore, they can co-exist because they are in different branches.  

Nice classification 

You now know that you get a monopoly for certain products and/or services when doing a trademark registration. When applying for a trademark, it’s therefore necessary to provide the products and/or services for which you will use your trademark. All products and services for which a trademark can be used, are categorized in 45 classes (or categories, if you will). The text of this so-called Nice classification can be found here

More classes means more costs 

The amount of classes determines how much your trademark registration will cost. You will namely have to pay an extra fee for each class above the first class. However, you can add an indefinite amount of terms referring to products and/or services that fall within the same class, without extra charge. 

For example: if you want to register a trademark for the product “handbags”, but also for “wallets” and “suitcases”, there’s no extra charge for the latter two. These products all fall under class 18, therefore you will pay only for 1 class.   

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