More on Trademarks

In my last post, I tried to explain the difference between the standard character format and the stylized design format of trademarks. Once you’ve done that, you need to decide what class of good you want to protect. Classes determines which types of goods or services your mark will apply to.

The class is a way of identifying what your customers purchase from you. If it’s a physical thing, it’s a good. If they hire you to perform some activity for them, it’s a service. For example, if you sell t-shirts, you sell goods. If you do custom silk-screening but don’t sell your own t-shirts, you’re performing a service.

The USPTO publishes an ID Manual with thousands of approved descriptions. If one of those identifications accurately describes what you’re selling, you can use that. If you can’t find an accurate description, you can also request to add your own.

It’s important that you get your description right the first time. You can’t add to the description later, or even change it once it’s filed. Any changes must be done on a new application.

Now, let’s suppose that you’ll be selling more than one type of good. The descriptions are organized into 45 classes. While you can use more than one description in a particular class, the cost of a trademark is based on how many classes you want to protect. Since each trademark is $350, attempting to put your mark on goods in different classes can add up quickly. Therefore, it’s important to properly identify your goods, spending some time evaluating which marks you want to protect, and properly evaluating the most effective method of protecting for your mark.