Trade marks are granted for particular activities, or classifications, as they are known.
That means you get exclusive rights to use your name or logo in relation to the goods and services in which you register your rights.
So, you need to ensure you register your mark in the classes that are appropriate to your business, otherwise others might register rights to use the name in other areas of activity.
That is how it happens that the same name is registered by several different non competing businesses. For example, POLO is a registered trade mark belonging to three businesses operating in different sectors – cars, confectionery, and clothes. Another famous example of a registration shared by two famous brands is APPLE. They are both registered in class 9 but as technology and music have converged their co-existence has been problematic and caused disputes.
It is more cost effective, and safer to register for all the classes you need when you first register a trade mark, unless your resources are so limited that they will not stretch to more than one class. In that case it is better to at least secure a registration for the name for your principal activity than to have no trade mark protection at all.
The following is a list of classes for illustration purposes, and is drawn from WIPO, an international organisation which decides the trade mark classification.
Goods are in classes 1-34, and Services are in classes 35-45.
Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry.
Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists.
Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices.
Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting.
Pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides.
Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; ironmongery, small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; safes; goods of common metal not included in other classes; ores.
Machines and machine tools; motors and engines (except for land vehicles); machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles); agricultural implements other than hand-operated; incubators for eggs.
Hand tools and implements (hand operated); cutlery; side arms; razors.
Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin operated apparatus; cash registers; calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire-extinguishing apparatus.
Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments, artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopaedic articles; suture materials.
Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.
Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.
Firearms; ammunition and projectiles, explosives; fireworks.
Precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes; jewellery, precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.
Paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes; printed matter; book binding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists" materials; paint brushes; typewriters and office requisites (except furniture); instructional and teaching material (except apparatus); plastic materials for packaging (not included in other classes); printers" type; printing blocks.
Rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials and not included in other classes; plastics in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials; flexible pipes, not of metal.
Leather and imitations of leather, and goods made of these materials and not included in other classes; animal skins, hides; trunks and travelling bags; umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery.
Building materials (non-metallic); non-metallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch and bitumen; non-metallic transportable buildings; monuments, not of metal.
Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; goods (not included in other classes) of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastics.
Household or kitchen utensils and containers (not of precious metal or coated therewith); combs and sponges; brushes (except paint brushes); brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; steel wool; un-worked or semi-worked glass (except glass used in building); glassware, porcelain and earthenware not included in other classes.
Ropes, string, nets, tents, awnings, tarpaulins, sails, sacks and bags (not included in other classes); padding and stuffing materials (except of rubber or plastics); raw fibrous textile materials.
Yarns and threads, for textile use.
Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes; bed and table covers.
Clothing, footwear, headgear.
Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers.
Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile).
Games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees.
Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, fruit sauces; eggs, milk and milk products; edible oils and fats.
Coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, tapioca, sago, artificial coffee; flour and preparations made from cereals, bread, pastry and confectionery, ices; honey, treacle; yeast, baking-powder; salt, mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice.
Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains not included in other classes; live animals; fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals; malt.
Beers; mineral and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages.
Alcoholic beverages (except beers).
Tobacco; smokers" articles; matches.
Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.
Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.
Building construction; repair; installation services.
Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.
Treatment of materials.
Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.
Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software; legal services.
Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation.
Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services.
Personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals; security services for the protection of property and individuals.