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Legal framework & general principles – the classes

Written by Mekael Rahman on 15 March 2017

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Goods and services comprise 45 classes – 1 to 34 are for goods and 35 to 45 are for services. The classification system is articulated in detail in the ‘International Classification of Goods and Services’ published by WIPO. The Registry has furnished its own classification apparatus i.e. the Trade Mark Classification Search which supplements the WIPO list and is accessible on the Trade Marks part of the Office’s website.  This searchable database portrays the Registrar’s view on the classification of goods or services and is collated from information held on the Register. Encompassing over seventy-five thousand entries (including all the entries contained in the latest edition of the WIPO list), the said database is an extremely beneficial aid regarding the classification of goods and services and the framing of specifications.    

The ‘International Classification of Goods and Services’ list is currently in its Tenth Edition and is divided into two parts. Part 1 is composed of two alphabetical lists, one for goods and the other for services. Part 2 lists the classes in numerical order and under each class, lists goods and services in alphabetical order. The legal position for employing the International Classification in the UK is incorporated in statue law, namely, section 34(1) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 which states that ‘goods and services shall be classified for the purposes of the registration of trade marks according to a prescribed system of classification’. Furthermore, under Rule 7 of the Trade Marks Rules 2008, the prescribed system of classification for the said purposes is the Nice Classification. Therefore, when a trade mark is registered it would be classified pursuant to the version of the Nice Classification that was in place on the date of application for registration. Trade mark registrations can be procured in the UK from three organisations: 1. The UK Registry; 2. WIPO (through the Madrid Protocol); and 3. The EUIPO. All of the abovementioned organisations classify goods and services in accordance with the International Classification system.   

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