The Nice Agreement, established the international system of classifying goods and services for trademark applications into forty-five different trademark Classes.
One requirement of the trademark application process is for trademark applicants, often through their trademark attorney, must select what goods (products) and/or services they use in connection with their applied for trademark. In 1957, much of the world came together to create a common trademark classification system which culminated in the Nice Agreement.
The Nice Agreement is an international treaty with many signatories, including the United States. The goal of the Nice Agreement is to harmonize the trademark application process around the world by agreeing to the same classification system for goods and services. The Nice Agreement has proven to be successful with over eighty signatory nations to the treaty.
The Nice Agreement, originally signed in 1957 has gone through several revisions and updates.
The Nice Agreement breaks up the classification of goods and services into 45 different trademark “Classes.” Classes one through thirty-four are exclusively for goods and Classes thirty-five through forty-five are exclusively for services. The Nice Classification 11th version came into force on January 1, 2018.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) follows the international trademark classification system set out in the Nice Agreement. When applying for a trademark application, applicants can view the Trademark Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual to see what Classes their goods and/or services belong in. If a trademark applicant misidentifies the Class of a good or service, the Examining Attorney will issue and Office Action delaying the application process.
Online version of the Trademark Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual can be found here.
Trademark applicants have an incentive to try to apply for goods/services in the same Class because each Class they apply for comes with a $225 USPTO fee. Although the forty-five different trademark Classes try to group goods and services logically together in the same Classes, there are some headscratchers out there that drive trademark lawyers and their clients a bit mad. For example, clothing and apparel is generally contained to Class 25, but compression apparel is in Class 10 because of its medical benefits (which are disputed).
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