Guidance for users

This page contains information regarding ID Manual features, classification and identification practices, and tips relating to particular goods and services. Click on the links below to browse content in each category. (For general guidance on the trademark application process, please see the Trademark process page.)

ID Manual features

General descriptions of ID Manual features are provided below. Please see the Searching the Trademark ID Manual page for guidance on formulating and conducting searches in the ID Manual. 

Spotlight on Nice 11-2022

On January 1, 2022, the Nice Classification, Eleventh Edition, version 2022 (NCL 11-2022) became effective. The Class Headings and Explanatory Notes of NCL 11-2022 are available on the Nice Agreement Current Edition/Version Page. For additional information about the Nice Classification, see TMEP §1401.02 et seq. and Nice Classification below.

The information icon

The information icon is a small, blue icon featuring the lower-case letter “i” located to the right of the search box. The information icon contains links to the “Searching the ID Manual” and “Guidance for Users” documentation. Clicking on the “Searching the ID Manual” link will open a page that provides tips and information about conducting searches using the ID Manual. Clicking on the “Guidance for Users” link will open this content.

Search Results Table

ID Manual search results are displayed in a table format ("Results Table"). For more information on the features of the Results Table, such as sorting, highlighting of search terms, and display options for search terms, please see the Searching the Trademark ID Manual page.

How to filter search results

For information about filtering search results, please see the Searching the Trademark ID Manual page.

Entry status

Each entry in the ID Manual is given a particular letter to indicate the status of the entry. Entries in Classes 1-45 with a status of “A” (Added), “M” (Modified), or “X” (Example) are active entries which are acceptable in the class specified.

The letter “A” is used to indicate that the entry has been added to the ID Manual and has not been subsequently modified.

The letter “M” is used to indicate an entry that has been modified since being originally entered into the ID Manual. “M” entries are generally accompanied by a Note that explains the reason for the modification. For example, if a particular good or service was reclassified, the entry for that good or service would include the letter “M” and a Note explaining the reason for the reclassification.

The letter “X” indicates an entry that is an example of an acceptable identification of goods or services. “X” entries often include more detail or specificity than is required for an acceptable identification. Thus, while an “X” entry may be used by an applicant, the entry may not be beneficial to a wide range of applicants and will not generally provide guidance about identification and classification principles. As noted in TMEP §1402.01, identifications that include lengthy descriptions of characteristics of goods and services are generally inappropriate.

The letter “D” indicates an entry that has been deleted from the ID Manual as of the indicated effective date. "D" entries are generally accompanied by a Note that provides the reason for deletion of the entry. “D” entries are typically not acceptable under USPTO ID Policy, but applicants should read the Note and consult the ID Manual for any similar entries to verify whether or not a particular entry is acceptable.

To filter search results according to the status of the entry, please use the Advanced Search features to select one, some, or all of the desired statuses using the appropriate checkboxes.

Brackets and Parentheses

The ID Manual includes two types of brackets – square brackets “[ ]” and curly brackets “{ }.”

Square Brackets

Wording included in square brackets in an ID Manual entry is informational in nature and does not need to be part of the identification unless the applicant wishes to include it without the brackets or the examining attorney decides that the information would be helpful for likelihood of confusion purposes. If the applicant chooses to include wording within square brackets in the identification, the applicant must submit an identification that incorporates the wording within the square brackets into the definite identification and removes the square brackets. For example, the ID Manual includes the entry “Chow mein [meat, fish or vegetable based].” The applicant may identify its goods as “chow mein” or may incorporate the bracketed wording into the identification, e.g., “meat-based chow mein.” The USPTO is currently working to remove all entries with square brackets from the ID Manual.

Generally, brackets should not be used in identifications of goods and services. TMEP §1402.12. Bracketed wording will be automatically deleted from the identification in a TEAS application form. Please see TMEP §707.02 regarding the deletion of bracketed material from an identification by examiner's amendment without obtaining applicant approval.

The following are examples of ID Manual entries with wording in square brackets that explains the entry but does not have to be included in the final identification of goods or services in order for the identification to be acceptable. 

ID Manual Entry

Acceptable Identification

Horseshoes [not game equipment]

Horseshoes

Literary agencies [management]

Literary agencies

Curly brackets

Curly brackets are used in ID Manual entries to indicate the type of information that an applicant must specify to render the identification acceptable.  Curly brackets usually include wording such as "specify" or "indicate" to convey the type of information required and generally include examples of acceptable wording. The information in the curly brackets must be provided by the applicant as part of the identification; however, wording used to introduce examples of types of information within the curly brackets, such as "specify," "indicate," or "e.g.," and wording used to indicate other similar items or subjects are included such as "etc." must not be included in an identification because they are indefinite and only intended to provide guidance. See TMEP §1402.04. For example, acceptable identifications based on the ID Manual entry “Pharmaceutical preparations for {specify disease or condition to be prevented or treated or the health goal to be achieved}” include "Pharmaceutical preparations for treating diabetes" and "Pharmaceutical preparations for the treatment of hormonal disorders and the prevention of osteoporosis."

In certain cases, the ID Manual may include a broader entry without curly brackets and a more specific entry with curly brackets for the same or similar good or services.  The applicant may choose to use the broader entry without brackets if it accurately describes the goods or services.  For example, the ID Manual includes an entry for “Nursing services” and includes a bracketed entry for “Nursing services in the field of {specify, e.g., pediatrics, geriatrics, etc.}.” In that case, “Nursing services” is an acceptable identification in Class 44 without a specification of the field. However, the ID Manual includes the bracketed entry for applicants wishing to provide greater specificity than the minimum required. If an entry with curly brackets is chosen, the bracketed information requested must be indicated or specified.

Parentheses

Generally, parentheses should not be used in identifications of goods and services because their use may cause confusion with USPTO’s method of indicating goods or services that have been deleted from a registration or which are not claimed in an affidavit of incontestability under 15 U.S.C. §1065.  See TMEP §1402.12.  However, parentheses may be used in an identification to merely explain or translate the matter preceding the parenthetical phrase in such a way that the parentheses do not affect the clarity of the identification. The ID Manual includes entries featuring parentheses used in this permissible explanatory manner, e.g., “Sash bands for kimono (obi)” and “Automatic teller machines (ATM).” Although wording in square brackets will be automatically deleted from the identification in new applications filed under TEAS, parenthetical information will not be automatically deleted from a TEAS application. Please note that TEAS forms other than new applications, such as the Response to Office Action (ROA) form and Voluntary Amendment form, submit identification wording exactly as entered or amended and do not automatically delete wording in square brackets. 

Notes

ID Manual Notes serve a wide variety of purposes. For example, Notes may be used to explain why an entry was modified or deleted, provide information about classification principles, or describe the function or purpose of the goods or services named in the description. If a Note is available for a particular identification, the Note will be displayed in the Notes column of the Results Table. This column may be hidden from display by adjusting the table settings using the “3 dots” icon at the top of the column. If a Note is longer than approximately 60 characters, the “see more” indicator will display. Click “see more” to see the entire Note text. 

When a Note is included at the time an entry is initially added to the ID Manual as either an “A” or “X” status, the Note itself is not dated. Notes added after an entry is initially added to the ID Manual generally include the date that the Note first appears. Notes are added to an entry when the entry is modified or deleted to provide explanation or justification for the modification or deletion.

References made to the Nice Alphabetical List in Notes refer to the edition and version of the Nice Alphabetical List in effect as of the date of the Note. For example, the entry “Tattoo machines” with an effective date of March 20, 2008 (i.e., 03/20/2008) includes a Note indicating that the goods were transferred to Class 8 from Class 7 due to an entry in the Nice Alphabetical List; since the effective date of the entry is March 20, 2008 (i.e., 03/20/2008) the reference to the Nice Alphabetical List refers to the 9th Edition of the Nice Agreement.

Entries with an “X” status that are identified as Nice Alphabetical List entries are acceptable, but are generally not in the preferred grammatical format.  For example, “Machines and apparatus for carpet shampooing, electric” appears in the ID Manual with an “X” status.  However, it is preferable for the applicant to choose the corresponding “A” status entry “Electric machines and apparatus for carpet shampooing” that incorporates the adjective into the identification and complies with English grammar rules. Nevertheless, both entries are acceptable.

Fill-in Manual Entries

The ID Manual includes entries with fill-in portions that allow applicants to specify additional information about the selected goods or services, such as material content, subject matter, or area of use. The fill-in portion generally consists of the words “specify,” “indicate,” or the like within curly brackets “{ }” and commonly includes examples of acceptable wording. For example, the fill-in portion for the description “Printed periodicals in the field of {indicate subject matter}” permits the applicant to set forth the subject matter of the printed periodicals where indicated. For a further discussion of the use of “curly brackets” in the ID Manual, see Brackets and Parentheses. 

When a fill-in entry is selected in any TEAS application, the bracketed information will be replaced by a highlighted text box in which the applicant can insert the required information. Additional goods or services and broad words, such as “including,” “and the like,” or "etc.," must not be included in the fill-in portion. Instead, the specific information requested should be provided where indicated by the fill-in portion. In limited circumstances, additional fees may be required for the improper use of a fill-in entry for the TEAS Plus filing option. For more information regarding additional fees, see TMEP §819.01(g).

The ID Manual may include broader entries without fill-in portions that do not require the same level of detail as fill-in entries. Applicants may choose to use a broader entry without the fill-in portion, if accurate. For example, “Medical services” is an acceptable ID Manual entry in Class 44 without specification of the medical field. The ID Manual also includes an entry for “Medical services in the field of {specify, e.g., surgery, oncology, nephrology, etc.}” in Class 44 for applicants who wish to specify the field. Applicants may also wish to consult the Notes of the ID Manual to determine whether the additional specificity requested by a fill-in entry is required or is merely optional. If an applicant chooses to use the fill-in entry, the fill-in portion must be completed with the relevant information.

In certain cases, the information requested in the fill-in portion of an ID Manual entry is needed in order to properly classify the goods or services or for the identification to be definite. For example, the entry “Figurines of {indicate stone, concrete, marble}” in Class 19 requires that one of the named materials be included in the identification because classification of figurines depends upon the material content of the goods. A similar entry, "Figurines of {indicate china, crystal, earthenware, glass, porcelain, terra cotta}," exists in Class 21, but with different materials that justify classification in Class 21. When the information requested in the fill-in portion is necessary in order to properly classify the goods and/or services or for the identification to be definite, the ID Manual will not contain a general entry for the goods or services, such as “Figurines” without an indication of material content.

In some ID Manual entries for services, the information requested in the fill-in portion determines classification and the entry itself is designated as “000” for the “Class.” Such entries are not available for selection using TEAS Plus. For more information, please see “000” Entries below.

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General notices

The ID Manual generally provides a list of identifications of goods or services from which an applicant may choose in order to accurately identify the goods and/or services on or in connection with which the applicant uses, or has a bona fide intention to use, its mark in commerce. The entries of the ID Manual also provide guidance as to the appropriate classification of particular goods and services under the Nice Classification and U.S. Classification. However, the ID Manual is not intended as an exhaustive list of goods and services for which an applicant may seek registration. No listing could include all possible identifications for the multitude of products and services for which marks may be registered. Therefore, a primary use of the ID Manual’s listings, in addition to indicating precise identifications that will generally be accepted, is to indicate by analogy and example the kinds of identifications that will be acceptable for goods and services not covered by the existing listings. TMEP §1402.04.

Applicants selecting the TEAS Plus filing option are required to use an existing ID Manual entry. See TMEP §819.01(g). Applications filed using a TEAS Standard form or filed on paper are not limited to the exact wording of the ID Manual entries; for non-TEAS Plus forms, the applicant may choose to use their own wording to accurately identify the goods and/or services. The identification of goods and/or services must be identified with sufficient specificity to ensure that the goods and/or services are appropriately classified. See Nice Classification below. An identification of goods and/or services must be specific, definite, clear, accurate, and concise. TMEP §1402.01.   Lengthy descriptions of characteristics or uses are not appropriate. For general guidance regarding the identification and classification of goods and services, see TMEP Chapter 1400

Although entries in the ID Manual are generally acceptable as written, the examining attorney may require an amendment to an otherwise definite identification in certain circumstances.  For example, see TMEP §1401.07 (Specimen Discloses Special Characteristics) and TMEP §1203.02(e)(ii) (identification requirement in connection with potentially deceptive trademarks). 

Nice Classification

For trademark or service mark applications filed on or after September 1, 1973, goods and services are classified according to the international classification of goods and services. See TMEP §1401.02. International trademark classification, and the headings of the international trademark classes, are established by the Committee of Experts of the Nice Union and set forth in the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (“Nice Classification”) published annually by the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) on its website: www.wipo.int. The purpose of the Nice Classification is to group, as much as possible, like goods or services in a single class. The Nice Classification classifies goods into Classes 1 to 34 and services into Classes 35 to 45. 

Prior to the Eleventh Edition of the Nice Classification, new editions of the Nice Classification entered into force every five years. The Eleventh Edition will be in effect for six years, rather than five years.  Beginning in 2023, new editions will be in effect for three years. 

In 2013, the Committee of Experts also began annual revisions to the Nice Classification. The annual revisions, which are published electronically and enter into force on January 1 each year, are referred to as versions and identified by edition number and year of the effective date (e.g., “Nice Classification, 11th edition, version 2021,” “NCL 11-2021,” or “Nice 11-2021”). For additional information about editions and versions of the Nice Classification, see TMEP §1401.02(a).

Requests for extension of protection filed under Trademark Act §66(a), including those for certification or collective membership marks, also use the Nice Classification.  Applications for certification marks and collective membership marks filed under Trademark Act §1 or §44 are classified in U.S. Classes A, B, and 200.

The Nice Agreement general remarks, class headings, and explanatory notes for each international trademark class, set forth in TMEP §1401.02(a), provide guidance in determining the appropriate classification of goods and/or services.  The Alphabetical List of the Nice Classification also provides information about the appropriate class for particular goods or services; however, entries of goods or services in the Alphabetical List may require further specificity to comply with USPTO policy and practice.  See TMEP §1401.02(c). The Alphabetical List may be accessed through the WIPO website at www.wipo.int/classifications/nice/en.         

On January 1, 2022, the Nice Classification, Eleventh Edition, version 2022 (“NCL 11-2022” or “Nice 11-2022”) became effective. The Class Headings and Explanatory Notes of NCL 11-2022 are available on the Nice Agreement Current Edition/Version page.

Notable Changes under the Nice Classification, 7th Edition: Retail and Wholesale Store Services

The 7th Edition of the Nice Classification (“Nice 7-1997”) went into effect on January 1, 1997;  however, the ID Manual generally indicates that January 2, 1997 (“01/02/1997”) is the “Effective Date” for ID Manual changes pursuant to that edition.  See TMEP §1401.10 et seq. for information regarding the “Effective Date” of changes to the ID Manual.  

A significant change in classification practice under Nice 7-1997 pertained to retail and wholesale store services. Prior to Nice 7-1997, retail and wholesale store services were classified in Class 42 based on the wording “services that cannot be placed in other classes” in the Class Heading for Class 42. (Said wording was subsequently deleted from the Class 42 Heading under the 8th Edition of the Nice Classification.) Under Nice 7-1997, the Explanatory Note for Class 35 was amended to include the following services: “the bringing together, for the benefit of others, of a variety of goods (excluding the transport thereof), enabling customers to conveniently view and purchase those goods.” Retail and wholesale store services were accordingly reclassified from Class 42 to Class 35 pursuant to Nice 7-1997. 

Restructuring of Class 42 Pursuant to the 8th Edition of the Nice Classification

Prior to the 8th Edition of the Nice Classification (Nice 8-2002), effective January 1, 2002, the wording "services that cannot be classified in other classes" appeared in the Class 42 Class Heading and justified classification of a wide array of disparate services in Class 42.  For example, services as varied as “horoscope forecasting” and “chemical research” were classified in Class 42. The Committee of Experts of the Nice Union, the body responsible for voting on changes to the Nice Classification, determined that Class 42 required revision to more precisely group together like services. Nice 8-2002 substantially restructured Class 42 by limiting the scope of the services in that class to mainly computer, scientific, and legal services. Three additional classes were created (Classes 43 through 45) to group together similar services that were previously classified in Class 42. See Nice Class Headings and Explanatory Notes in TMEP §1401.02(a); see also TMEP §1401.12(a) regarding the subsequent reclassification of legal services to Class 45 under the 9th Edition of the Nice Agreement. Furthermore, the wording "services that cannot be classified in other classes" was deleted from the Class 42 Class Heading. See TMEP §1401.11(a).  

Pursuant to Nice 8-2002, services that were previously classified in Class 42 based on the wording “services that cannot be classified in other classes,” must be identified with sufficient clarity and precision to allow for appropriate classification in one of the eleven service classes (Classes 35-45). Examples of specific identification and classification policies impacted by the deletion of said wording include the following:

  • Non-Monetary Charitable Services: Prior to Nice 8-2002, non-monetary charitable services were classified in Class 42 regardless of the type of service provided by the charity. Pursuant to Nice 8-2002, non-monetary charitable services are classified by the nature of the service provided, e.g., “charitable services, namely, providing temporary shelter for the homeless" in Class 43. See TMEP §1402.11(d).  
  • Consulting Services: Prior to Nice 8-2002, all consulting services were classified in Class 42 except those relating to business (Class 35) and financial or insurance consulting (Class 36). Under Nice 8-2002, consulting services are classified in the class of the service-related subject matter of the service.  See TMEP §1402.11(e)
  • Database Services: Prior to Nice 8-2002, the service of providing an on-line database via the Internet was classified in Class 42 if the database included a wide variety of subject matter.  However, under Nice 8-2002, the service-related subject matter or content of the online database now governs the classification of the services. Applicants must now separate the subject matter or content of the databases into their appropriate individual international classes. See TMEP §1402.11(a)(ix)

The Explanatory Note for Class 42 was also substantially amended under Nice 8-2002, including deletion of the wording “services (not included in other classes) rendered by associations to their own members.” Prior to Nice 8-2002, identifications of services such as "association services, namely, promoting the interest of lawyers" were classified in Class 42 based on the aforesaid wording.  Pursuant to Nice 8-2002, services rendered by association services are classified by the nature of the service provided.  See TMEP §1402.11(c)

The chart below includes examples of services reclassified from Class 42 to a class added to the Nice Classification under Nice 8-2002 (Classes 43-45). 
 

ServicesClassification under Nice 7-1997Classification under Nice 8-2002
Providing assisted living facilities4243
Restaurant services4243
Beauty salons4244
Plant care services4244
Medical services4244
Veterinary services4244
Adoption agencies4245
Astrology consultation4245
Bodyguard services4245
Dating services4245
Monitoring burglar and security alarms4245
Personal shopping for others4245
Rental of clothing4245

The chart below includes examples of services that were reclassified under Nice 8-2002 from Class 42 to one of the previously available classes based on the restructuring of Class 42.

ServicesClassification under Nice 7-1997Classification under Nice 8-2002
Printing4240
Knitting machine rental4240
Sorting of waste and recyclable material4240
Photography4241
Vocational guidance4241
News reporters services4241
Language translation4241
Sign language interpretation4241
Videotaping4241
Microfilming4241

To see additional examples of services that were reclassification pursuant to Nice 8-2002, conduct an advanced search in the ID Manual of the phrase “restructuring of Class 42” (include quotation marks), by clicking on the advanced search icon (magnifying glass with a plus sign on the upper left side of the search screen) and checking the box for “Notes” below “Search Fields.”   

Please see TMEP §1401.11 et seq. for additional information about Nice 8-2002. 

See TMEP §§1401.12 et seq., 1401.13 et seq., and 1401.14 et seq. for information about changes in practice based on the 9th, 10th, or 11th editions of the Nice Classification. 

TM5 entries

The USPTO works together with its international partners, the Japan Patent Office (“JPO”), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (“KIPO”), and the China National Intellectual Property Administration ("CNIPA"), to establish and maintain a list of identifications of goods or services which are acceptable to all offices. This collective effort is known as the “TM5” ID List (formerly known as “Trilateral”). The mutually agreed upon identifications are included in the ID Manual and are designated by a “T” in the “TM5” column of the Results Table. The "TM5" column will be blank if the entry has not been accepted by all of the TM5 partners. For further information about TM5 entries, see TMEP §1402.04.

“000” entries

"000" entries do not appear in the TEAS Plus version of the ID Manual because a class number is required by the TEAS Plus system, and a class number cannot be assigned to these entries. For more information on filing an application using TEAS Plus, see TMEP §819 et seq. Entries designated with a "000" in the "Class” field require additional specification for proper classification of the goods or services. The particular information needed to determine appropriate classification is set forth in the entry and/or the Note for the entry. The "000" entries primarily consist of entries for services that are classified according to the specific subject matter of the services, e.g. "Providing information in the field of {indicate service-related subject matter or field} via the Internet [classification depends on service-related subject matter]."

U.S. Classes A, B, and 200

United States Classes (“U.S. Classes”) A, B, and 200 are classes from the prior U.S. classification system that are still used in the United States to classify certification marks for goods (Class A), certification marks for services (Class B), and collective membership marks (Class 200) in applications filed under Trademark Act §1 or §44.  37 C.F.R. §§6.3, 6.4. These classes are not included in the international classification system under the Nice Classification. 

U.S. Classes A, B, and 200 entries appearing in the ID Manual are merely intended to provide information regarding those particular U.S. Classes and are not acceptable entries as worded. For additional information, see TMEP §§1306.02(c)-(d) and §§1304.02(c)-(d). For example, the ID Manual entries “Goods conforming to certification standard(s) as indicated by a Certification Mark,” “Services conforming to certification standard(s) as indicated by a Certification Mark,” and “Services conforming to accreditation standard(s) as indicated by a(n) Accreditation/Certification Mark” appear with informational bracketed wording in the Description column of the ID Manual, but are not in themselves acceptable identifications. The guidance provided in brackets in the Description column or in the Notes for those entries should be consulted. For example, the bracketed wording and Note for the ID Manual entry “Collective Membership Mark for indicating membership in an organization [DO NOT USE THIS WORDING AS AN IDENTIFICATION. See TMEP Section 1304.02(c).]” indicates that TMEP §1304.02(c) should be consulted for information about identifying the nature of a collective membership organization in applications for collective membership marks.

Certain entries unavailable in TEAS Plus ID Manual 

Certain entries included in the ID Manual outside of the TEAS Plus filing option are not available for TEAS Plus use. The TEAS Plus version of the ID Manual intentionally does not include the following:

  • goods and/or services classified in Classes A, B, or 200, because they are not eligible for filing under TEAS Plus; and
  • any entries that are designated with a "000" in the Class field, because correct classification is required under TEAS Plus and classification for these entries varies according to the subject matter or additional information provided within the entry.

Use of the words “applicant” or “registrant” in the identification is not permitted

The words “applicant” or “registrant” generally must not appear in the identification of goods or services. Before registration, use of the term “registrant” is inaccurate, and, after registration, use of the term “applicant” is inaccurate.  For further information, see TMEP §1402.09.

Registered marks are generally not permitted in the identification

Registered trademarks generally may not be included in an identification of goods or services.  See TMEP §1402.09. The identification should merely set forth the common name of the goods or services. See TMEP §1402.01. Use of a registered mark or its plural or punctuated/non-punctuated form to identify a type of good or service is inappropriate because registered marks indicate the source of the goods or services rather than the common name of a particular type of good or service. It is also inappropriate to use a misspelling or phonetic equivalent of a registered mark in the identification unless such misspelling or phonetic equivalent is the common name of the goods or services. In place of the mark, a generic term must be used. 

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Guidance on identifying and/or classifying particular goods and services

TMEP guidance on identifying and/or classifying particular goods and services

The TMEP provides guidance on identifying and/or classifying certain goods or services. Information on identifying and/or classifying particular goods and services is provided below. This information will be periodically revised or supplemented. 

 Identification

TMEP Section

Kits

TMEP §1401.05(a) 

Gift Baskets

TMEP §1401.05(a) 

Items Sold as a Unit

TMEP §1401.05(a) 

Medical vs. Non-medical Goods

TMEP §1401.05(b)

Systems

TMEP §1401.05(d)  

Food Additives

TMEP §§1401.05(e)§1401.13(c)

Dietetic Substances and Meal Replacements

TMEP §1401.13(d)§1401.14(c)

Cosmetic and Toiletry Preparations and Soaps

TMEP §1401.14(a)

Household or Kitchen Serving Utensils and Small Hand-operated Kitchen Apparatus for Mincing, Grinding, Pressing, or Crushing

TMEP §1401.14(b)

Nut and Plant Milks; Milk Substitutes

TMEP §1401.14(d)

Security Services

TMEP §1401.14(e)

Ivory, Bone, Whalebone, Horn and Tusks

TMEP §1401.14(f)

Marketing Services

TMEP §1402.11(i)§1401.13(e)

Recorded or Downloadable Computer Programs

TMEP §1402.03(d)

Full Line of Goods/ServicesTMEP §1402.03(c)

Printed, Downloadable, or Recorded Publications

TMEP §1402.03(e)

On-line Publications

TMEP §1402.11(a)(x)

Computer Services

TMEP §1402.11(a) et. seq. 

Content Provider Services

TMEP §1402.11(a)(ii)

Telecommunications Connections

TMEP §1402.11(a)(iii)

Web Traffic Services

TMEP §1402.11(a)(iv)

Computer Installation and Repair

TMEP §1402.11(a)(v)

On-line Retail Services

TMEP §1402.11(a)(vi)

Computer Entertainment Services

TMEP §1402.11(a)(vii)

Computer Design and Development Services

TMEP §1402.11(a)(viii)

Database Services

TMEP §1402.11(a)(ix)

Electronic Storage

TMEP §1402.11(a)(xi)

Data Hosting

TMEP §1402.11(a)(xi)

Cloud Computing

TMEP §1402.11(a)(xi)

Information Services

TMEP §1402.11(b)

Association Services and “Promoting the Interest of” Services

TMEP §1402.11(c) 

Non-monetary Charitable Services

TMEP §1402.11(d) 

Consulting Services

TMEP §1402.11(e) 

Computer Consultation

TMEP §1402.11(e) 

Distribution of Videotapes, Audiotapes, etc.

TMEP §1402.11(f)  

Recorded Entertainment Services

TMEP §1402.11(g) 

“Bonus Programs”

TMEP §1402.11(h)

Issuing Awards

TMEP §1402.11(j) 

Sales

TMEP §1402.11 

Accessories

TMEP §1402.03(a)

Holding Company Services

TMEP §1402.11 

 

Guidance on identifying and/or classifying particular goods

Animals

For classification purposes, identifications that include animals as goods should indicate whether the animals are live or not live. The Class 29 Class Heading includes “meat, fish, poultry and game.” According to the corresponding Explanatory Note, “Class 29 includes mainly foodstuffs of animal origin...which are prepared or preserved for consumption.” Live animals are specifically excluded from Class 29 and, instead, are included as part of the Class 31 Class Heading. Thus, an identification for goods such as “sardines” is indefinite and overly broad for classification purposes because it is unclear whether “sardines” identifies live animals in Class 31 or animals that are not live in Class 29. However, when used in their singular form in Class 29, animal names such as “chicken,” “turkey,” “pheasant” and “quail” are presumed to be types of poultry and game. If listed in their plural form in Class 29 (e.g., “chickens,” “turkeys,” “pheasants” and “quails”), ambiguity arises as to whether the goods are live animals that should be classified in Class 31.

Please note that it is not necessary that the wording “not live” be used when it is otherwise clear that the animals are not live. For example, “tinned sardines” and “canned sardines” would each be acceptable identifications in Class 29 without further qualification.

Leeches are an exception to the general rule that all live animals are classified in Class 31. Specifically, the Nice Alphabetical List classifies “Leeches for medical purposes” in Class 5, based on their specialized medical purpose. 

Awards

Under USPTO identification and classification policy, the term “awards” is indefinite and overbroad. The nature of the awards must be specified (1) to enable a comparison of the goods/services and analysis of trade channels for possible likelihood of confusion under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(d) and (2) to enable proper classification of the goods.

Common types of awards are medals and printed certificates, which are classified according to function, and trophies or plaques, which are classified according to material composition. Some examples of definite and properly classified goods for use as awards are:

  • Trophies of common metal for use as awards in Class 6;
  • Medals for use as awards in Class 14;
  • Printed certificates for use as awards in Class 16;
  • Plaques of wood for use as awards in Class 20;
  • Plaques of crystal for use as awards in Class 21.

The nature of the awards (e.g., medals, printed certificates, etc.) generally controls the classification. If the awards cannot be classified based on a purpose or function listed in the Nice Class Headings, material composition may determine the classification. The purpose of the awards is not relevant for classification purposes.

Implants

For classification purposes, identifications that include implants as goods should indicate whether the implants are made of living tissue in Class 5 or made of artificial materials in Class 10. 

The Nice Alphabetical List includes “Surgical implants comprised of living tissues” in Class 5 and “Surgical implants comprised of artificial materials” in Class 10.  In accordance with this distinction, under USPTO policy, an identification of “surgical implants” is considered indefinite if it does not specify whether the surgical implants are comprised of living tissue in Class 5 or artificial materials in Class 10 as part of the identification. 

Please note that it is not necessary that the wording “made of living tissue” or “made of artificial materials” be included in the identification when (1) it is otherwise clear that the implants are made of living tissue or artificial materials or (2) the identification for the implants is currently listed in the ID Manual.  For example, “Biological implants, namely, a vital processed human or animal connective tissue” is listed in the ID Manual and is an acceptable identification in Class 5. Additionally, “dental implants” is listed in the ID Manual (with bracketed wording and corresponding note) and is an acceptable identification in Class 10 without further qualification.

Plastic sheets and films in Classes 16 and 17

Under the Nice Agreement, plastic sheets and films are generally classified by purpose, namely: for wrapping and packaging (Class 16), for packing [e.g., padding and stuffing] (Class 17), other than for wrapping and packaging (Class 17), and in extruded form for use in further manufacture (Class 17). For proper classification, identifications should indicate the purpose of these goods.

Plastic sheets and films in Class 16

The Class 16 Class Heading includes “plastic sheets, films and bags for wrapping and packaging.” As examples, the following entries appear in the Nice Alphabetical List in Class 16:

  • Plastic film for wrapping
  • Plastic cling film, extensible, for palletization
  • Plastic bubble packs for wrapping or packaging
  • Sheets of reclaimed cellulose for wrapping

Plastic sheets and films in Class 16 are limited to the purposes of “wrapping” and “packaging.” In this context, plastic sheets and films for “wrapping” and “packaging” refers to the outer coverings of goods or the merchandise packaging of goods (e.g., “gift wrapping paper,” “food wrapping plastic film”). In contrast, plastic sheets and films in Class 17 are for “packing” purposes. In this context, plastic sheets and films for “packing” refers to cushioning, stuffing or insulation material. While the terms “packaging” and “packing” are often used interchangeably in common parlance, these terms are construed as having distinct meanings (i.e., functions) under the Nice Agreement, and, thus, important classification consequences.

Class 16 plastic sheets and films for “wrapping” or “packaging” purposes may be for commercial use as well as household use, as household or commercial use does not affect classification of these goods under the Nice Agreement. In fact, the Nice Alphabetical List includes “plastic cling film, extensible, for palletization” in Class 16, which refers to commercial/industrial use of the plastic films (i.e., pallet-sized loads) and reinforces the fact that a “wrapping” or “packaging” function necessitates classification of plastic sheets and films in Class 16.

To ensure the proper classification of plastic sheets and films in Class 16, identifications for these goods must indicate a “wrapping” or “packaging” purpose. For example, “plastic film used as packaging for food” and “food wrapping plastic film” are both acceptable identifications in Class 16.

Plastic sheets and films in Class 17

Generally, Class 17 includes two types of plastic sheets and films - semi-processed plastic material and plastic films, other than for wrapping and packaging.

Semi-processed plastic material

“Plastics and resins in extruded form for use in manufacture” is included in the Class 17 Class Heading of the Nice Agreement, and “plastics for use in manufacture in the form of sheets, blocks and rods” is included in the Class 17 Explanatory Note. As examples, the following entries appear in the Nice Alphabetical List in Class 17:

  • Plastic substances, semi-processed
  • Cellulose acetate, semi-processed

“Semi-processed” refers to plastic material that has been partially processed and is no longer “unprocessed” or “raw” plastic material in Class 1. Class 17 semi-processed plastic material will be further manufactured into finished plastic products and (later) classified accordingly (e.g., plastic cutlery, namely, knives, forks, and spoons in Class 8, plastic aprons in Class 25, plastic dolls in Class 28). “Plastics in extruded form” refers to Class 17 plastic material in semi-finished forms, such as bars, blocks, pellets, rods, sheets and tubes, for use in further manufacturing.

As previously explained, Class 17 plastic materials are generally characterized by their semi-processed form and are typically in the interim state between unprocessed or raw plastic material in Class 1 and finished plastic products in various classes. To ensure appropriate classification in Class 17, an acceptable identification should indicate either the “semi-processed” nature of the plastic or its “use in further manufacture” (or other similar language). For example, “plastics in extruded form for use in further manufacturing” and “semi-processed plastic in the form of films, sheets, tubes, bars, or rods” are both acceptable identifications in Class 17.

Plastic films, other than for wrapping and packaging

“Packing, stopping and insulating materials” appears in the Class 17 Class Heading, and “certain goods made of the materials in this class not otherwise classified by function or purpose, for example, ... padding and stuffing materials of rubber or plastics” is included in the Class 17 Explanatory Note. As examples, the following entries appear in the Nice Alphabetical List in Class 17:

  • Packing [cushioning, stuffing] materials of rubber or plastics
  • Padding materials of rubber or plastics/Stuffing of rubber or plastics

Plastic sheets and films in Class 17 are generally limited to the purposes of “packing, stopping and insulating.” As illustrated by the bracketed information “[cushioning, stuffing]” above, in this context, “packing” materials refers to plastic sheets and films that are used as cushioning or stuffing material. Unlike the Class 16 “wrapping” and “packaging” materials that are purposed for use as outer wrapping or as merchandise packaging, the term “packing” connotes an additional cushioning, padding, stuffing or insulating characteristic.

The Class 17 Explanatory Note also indicates that “plastic films, other than for wrapping and packaging, for example, anti-dazzle films for windows” are included in Class 17. Additionally, the following entries appear in the Nice Alphabetical List in Class 17:

  • Plastic film, other than for wrapping
  • Sheets of regenerated cellulose, other than for wrapping

As indicated by these Nice entries and the Cl. 17 Explanatory Note, plastic sheets and films, other than for wrapping or packaging are classified in Class 17. However, this particular broad Nice classification principle allows for identifications that may not be sufficiently definite under USPTO specificity policy. For example, an identification of “plastic film other than for wrapping” would not be acceptable in the U.S. because such broad wording would encompass disparate goods (e.g., “plastics sheets for use in further manufacturing,” “plastic film for packing and stuffing,” and “heat reflective plastic film to be applied to windows”). Thus, for specificity and likelihood of confusion considerations, any Class 17 identification for “plastic sheets and films, other than wrapping or packaging” should clearly indicate the “non-wrapping” or “non-packaging” purpose of the plastic sheets and films.

To summarize, in order to ensure proper classification in Class 17, identifications for plastic sheets and films should clearly indicate that such goods are: (1) semi-processed, or for use in further manufacture, or (2) are for packing, cushioning, stuffing and/or insulating purposes.

“Providing downloadable software"

The wording “providing downloadable software (with a clear function and, if applicable, content/field specified)” is not an acceptable identification because it is ambiguous. The ambiguity results from the combination of the term “providing,” which suggests a service activity, and “downloadable software,” which is classified in Class 9 as goods. The wording must be clarified to indicate the nature of the goods/services, e.g., downloadable software (with a clear function and, if applicable, content/field specified) in Class 9, online retail store services featuring downloadable software in Class 35, etc., and classified accordingly.

Resins

Under the Nice Agreement, resins are classified according to whether they are unprocessed artificial resins (Class 1), raw natural resins (Class 2), or semi-finished resins (Class 17).

Resins in Class 1 are limited to those that are both unprocessed and artificial. The word “unprocessed” indicates that the resins have not been semi-worked or semi-finished into the form of sheets, blocks, bars, etc. for use in further manufacturing. Artificial resins are chemically modified natural resins or polymerized synthetics of natural resins. Unprocessed artificial resins are classified in Class 1 because they are essentially in the nature of chemicals. To ensure appropriate classification of resins in Class 1, an acceptable identification must indicate that the resins are (1) “unprocessed” and (2) “synthetic” or “artificial” (or the generic name for the synthetic/artificial resin must be specified). For example, “unprocessed synthetic resins” and “unprocessed polyethylene resins” are each an acceptable identification in Class 1.

The Class Heading for Class 2 includes “raw natural resins.” Raw (a/k/a “unprocessed”) natural resins are solid or semisolid viscous substances exuded by certain trees and plants. These resins are classified in Class 2 because they are often used as ingredients in Class 2 goods, such as lacquers, varnishes, and inks. To ensure appropriate classification of resins in Class 2, an acceptable identification must indicate that resins are “raw” or “unprocessed” and “natural.” For example, “unprocessed natural resins” is an acceptable identification in Class 2. Although natural resins are most often sold in raw or unprocessed form, if a natural resin has been semi-processed into a shape, such as pellets, rods, bars, ingots, etc., the goods are classified in Class 17 because of that processing.

Class 17 includes natural or synthetic resins that are in the form of semi-finished products, such as pellets, rods, films, sheets, etc. These goods have been semi-worked and are used for further manufacture. To ensure appropriate classification of resins in Class 17, the identification must indicate the goods are “semi-finished” (or equivalent wording, such as “semi-worked,” “semi-processed,” “in extruded form,” etc.) or the particular extruded form must be specified. For example, “semi-processed resins,” “semi-processed acrylic resins” and “resins in bars, blocks, pellets, rods, sheets and tubes for general industrial use” are acceptable identifications in Class 17.

Guidance on identifying and/or classifying particular services

Customization of goods for others

The service of customizing goods to the specification of others is generally classified according to the nature of the activity underlying the customization. For example, customization of computer software is in Class 42 because the activity underlying the customization is computer programming in Class 42. In other words, the applicant has to re-program the software so that it meets the customer's criteria. On the other hand, customization of computer hardware is in Class 37 because the activities underlying the customization are upgrading and modification in Class 37. Customization usually involves repair and maintenance of existing finished goods in Class 37, while custom manufacturing of goods in Class 40 involves transforming unfinished or semi-finished goods into finished goods.

Providing educational information

The service “providing information about education” includes information about education, such as academic standards, class schedules, and pedagogy, and is, therefore, properly classified in Class 41. However, the services of “providing educational information…” are classified according to the subject matter of the information. See TMEP §1402.11(b). All information can be characterized as educational. Thus, describing information as “educational” is not sufficient to justify classification in Class 41. For example, “providing educational information about healthcare” is classified in Class 44 because the information pertains to healthcare (and healthcare services are generally classified in Class 44), whereas “providing information in the field of education regarding healthcare” is classified in Class 41 because the information pertains to the subject matter of education, specific to healthcare education.

Providing information about food and drinks

Pursuant to the General Remarks of the Nice Agreement, “services that provide advice, information or consultation are in principle classified in the same classes as the services that correspond to the subject matter of the advice, information or consultation....” TMEP §1401.02(a).Thus, an identification for services involving the provision of information about food or drinks requires specification of the service-related subject matter to ensure appropriate classification.

Identifications such as “information about food” or “information about drinks” are considered indefinite and inclusive of services in multiple classes because the service-related subject matter of the information is unclear. Although the Class 43 Class Heading includes “services for providing food and drink,” the service of providing information about food and drinks does not necessarily relate to Class 43 services and could include a variety of food- or drink-related services, e.g., “providing nutritional information about food” in Class 44 or “providing information about wine-making” in Class 40.

Provision of facilities

For classification purposes, recitations of services involving the provision of facilities should make clear whether the services involve (1) general purpose facilities, such as convention centers and exhibition halls, in Class 43 or (2) specialized facilities/facilities for a particular purpose, which are classified in any of the service classes, depending on the particular purpose specified. These facilities classification principles are based on the Nice Agreement.

General purpose facilities, such as convention centers and exhibition halls, may be used for a variety of business, educational, and cultural events, and each event has a fixed duration that is temporary in nature. Although general purpose facilities may be transformed by the temporary occupant into a space equipped for specific activities (such as a business conference or an art show), general purpose facilities typically have standard features (such as tables, chairs, and restrooms), rather than specialized features or equipment (such as artificial turf or exercise machines).  Recitations of services involving the provision of general purpose facilities should use the wording “general purpose facilities” to make clear the nature of the services in Class 43.

Specialized facilities, or facilities for a particular purpose, are classified according to purpose. It is noted that applicants are not required to incorporate the word “specialized” into a provision of facilities identification to justify classifying the services according to their purpose. However, the identification must clearly indicate the special use or particular purpose of the facility to enable the Office to properly classify the service (e.g., providing tennis court facilities in Class 41, providing facilities for scientific research in the nature of wind tunnels in Class 42, providing physical rehabilitation facilitates in Class 44, etc.).

“Sales” and retail/wholesale services

“Sales” cannot be listed as the primary activity in an identification of services because the sale of one’s own goods or services is not a registrable service. TMEP §1402.11. Moreover, “sales” is not recognized as a classifiable service under the Nice Classification; specifically, the Class 35 Explanatory Note states that “[for] the purposes of classification, the sale of goods is not considered to be a service.” See TMEP §1401.02(a). The identification should instead set forth the common commercial name of the activity, such as “retail clothing stores” or “computerized on-line ordering featuring general consumer merchandise.”   

The wording “retail services” or “wholesale services” includes a wide array of services related to retailing and wholesaling, such as advertising or marketing services.  Accordingly, identifications for retail or wholesale services must set forth the nature of the retail or wholesale activity (e.g., on-line retail store services, wholesale distributorships, etc.).  Please note that adding wording such as “on-line” or “via the Internet” to the terms “retail services” or “wholesale services” would only serve to indicate the manner in which the retail or wholesale services are provided, but would not explain what the retail or wholesale services are. The nature of the activity must be specified even if the retail or wholesale services are provided on-line. See generally TMEP §1402.11(a)(vi).

Identifications for retail or wholesale store services, distributorship services, ordering services, catalog service, and the like also require specification of the field or type of goods or services offered (e.g., electronic catalog services featuring car parts).  For guidance on identifications for retail or wholesale services that require specification of the field or type of goods or services offered, in addition to an indication of the nature of the retail or wholesale activity provided (e.g., on-line retail store services featuring {indicate field or type of goods}), please consult the ID Manual for relevant entries.

Technical information and consultation

As a general rule, “technical information” services are just like any other information services in that they are always classified by the service-related subject matter of the technical information provided (e.g., provision of technical information in the field of marketing in Class 35, provision of technical information in the field of building construction in Class 37, provision of technical information in the field of interior design in Class 42, etc.). Similarly, "technical consulting” services are just like any other consulting services in that they are always classified by the service-related subject matter of the technical consulting provided (e.g., technical consulting in the field of marketing in Class 35, technical consulting in the field of building construction in Class 37, technical consulting in the field of interior design in Class 42, etc.). On the other hand, "technology" information services and "technology" consulting services are always classified in Class 42 because the services involve the provision of information or consultation concerning computer technology and scientific technology, which are Class 42 subject matters.

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