How do trade mark classes work?

Written by William Miles | January 31, 2024

Trade Marks

The scope of protection offered by trade marks is, by design, limited. The idea being that it should be possible for identical marks to co-exist on the same register providing that they offer different goods and services. This is where trade mark classes come in.

Trade mark classes are a system of categorising goods and services for the purpose of trade mark registration. The classification system helps organise the vast array of goods and services into distinct groups, making it easier for businesses and trade mark offices to manage and evaluate applications. In the UK, trade mark classes are based on the Nice Classification system, which is an international classification of goods and services under the Nice Agreement.

The Nice Classification system consists of 45 classes in all, with classes 1 to 34 covering goods and classes 35 to 45 covering services. When applying for a trade mark in the UK, applicants must specify the class or classes relevant to the goods or services associated with their particular brand.

Significance of trade mark classes

The use of trade mark classes ensures that goods and services are precisely identified, preventing ambiguity in trade mark registrations. This clarity is essential for applicants, trade mark examiners and potential opponents.

Trade mark offices use classes to conduct searches and examinations efficiently. By categorising goods and services, examiners can quickly assess whether a new application conflicts with existing trade marks within the same or similar classes. The significance of this is that in the UK examiners will notify the owners of similar marks should applicants wish for their application to proceed to publication.

Choosing the right classes

Selecting the appropriate trade mark class is a critical step in the registration process. It’s important first to consider the core nature of your goods or services; be specific and choose the class that accurately reflects the goods or services associated with your brand. This is where we come in and we can advise on your specific application and the classes which would be most appropriate.

In some cases, a business may offer a variety of goods or services that fall into different classes. In such instances, applicants can apply for registration in multiple classes to ensure comprehensive protection. However, adding additional classes will increase the overall cost of the application and applicants should ensure that they don’t cover goods/services which they have no intention of providing.


Selecting the right classes for you application is a crucial part of the application process and getting this wrong can be costly. Fortunately our expert solicitors are on hand to assist with all aspects of the trade mark application process. Just email to arrange a consultation meeting.

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