Nice classification is an international classification for trademarks’ registration for various goods and services. This system of trademark classification was established under the Nice Agreement, 1957. A new edition of Nice classification is rolled out every year since 2013. Nice Classification is used by many national and international offices as it facilitates a single global platform for coordinating all the trademark applications, greatly simplifying preservation of intellectual property worldwide.
Classifying your trademark under the right category is one of the initial steps in the trademark registration process. In order to create a strong international trademark to avoid any sort of business loss arising out of trademark violation in future, it is indispensable for the MNCs and the startups planning to go global to classify and register their trademark as per the provisions of Nice classification.
Under Nice classification, there are 45 Classes out of which 1 to 34 are for goods and 35 to 45 are for services. There is a comprehensive and detailed Class list available on the WIPO’s website along with explanatory examples and Alphabetical list to facilitate businesses.
If one can’t find the relevant Class for his trademark as per the product using the list of Classes, explanatory examples and Alphabetical list, then General Remarks are to be referred further in order to figure out the exact Class.
How to conduct Trademark Searches using Nice Classification
Trademark Search and
- Rahul Dev
- Any attribute that identifies a producer/product as
distinct from others
The legal term for the word brand is “trademark”. All the countries have an authority
for registering and protecting brands. Eg: India has Controller General of Patents,
Designs and Trademarks, US has United States Patent and Trademark Office.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
Step 1 of the Trademark Registration Process
- It always begins with trademark search for brand name, logo and tagline. It’s in this step
where Nice Classification(NCL) is done.
- For making a strong trademark registration case on a global level, a comprehensive analysis of
all the aspects of trademark is to be done, from colours in the logo to words in the tagline.
- Example: For taglines, all the possible keywords are searched in different combinations in all
the relevant Classes of goods or services under Nice Classification (NCL).
- Trademark search also reveals multiple trademarks applications that have been filed for a
particular keyword. Eg: In the pandemic period, there was a race to trademark the trending
keywords like COVID, Corona, and the like.
- NCL is the international classification of goods and services for registering
trademarks. Currently, NCL has 84 signatories. Further, 65 non-member
countries, four organizations and the International Bureau of WIPO utilise
- Subject to a business’ activities, the most relevant Class or Classes.
- Eg: Online retail services may fall within the scope of Class 35, whereas
physical goods that are sold online may fall under different Class of physical
goods i.e. between Class 1 to Class 34.
- Total Classes: 45
- Goods’ Classes: 1 to 34
- Services’ Classes: 35 to 45
- A detailed and comprehensive list classifying each type of goods and services
in their respective Classes can be accessed on World Intellectual Property
Organisation’s (WIPO) portal.
- If one couldn’t classify his product using the aforementioned list and
Explanatory Notes and Alphabetical notes therein, then NCL has some
General Rules in place for further facilitation.
Various Classes of Goods and Services under NCL
Brief Explanation on NCL Classes of Goods
Class 1 Industry chemicals (science & agri)
Class 2 Paints, Colorants and Preparations
Class 3 Non-medicated toiletry preparation
Class 4 Industrial oils, greases, illuminants
Class 5 Pharmaceuticals:medical purposes
Class 6 Common metals and their alloys
Class 7 Machines, tools, motors & engines
Class 8 Hand-operated tools
Class 9 Apparatus for scientific research
Class 10 Surgical & medical instruments
Class 11 Environmental control apparatus
Class 12 Transportation vehicles & apparatus
Class 13 Firearms & pyrotechnic products
Class 14 Precious metals their goods
Class 15 Musical instruments, accessories
Class 16 Paper, cardboard, its goods
Class 17 Electrical, thermal materials
Class 18 Leather and its goods
Class 19 Materials for construction
Class 20 Furniture and parts therefor
Class 21 Small, hand-operated utensils
Class 22 Canvas, materials for textile
Class 23 Natural/synthetic yarns &
Class 24 Fabrics & its covers (domestic)
Class 25 Clothing, footwear & headwear
Class 26 Dressmakers' articles
Class 27 Products intended as coverings
Class 28 Toys, apparatus for games
Class 29 Foodstuffs of animal, vegetable
Class 30 Foodstuff except fruits/ vegetables;
Auxiliaries for flavour enhancement.
Class 31 Land & sea products(untamed)
Class 32 Non-alcoholic beverages, as well
Class 33 Alcoholic beverages, essences & extracts
Class 34 Tobacco and articles used for smoking
Brief Explanation on NCL Classes of Services
Class 40 Treatment of Materials;
Class 41 Education; Training; Entertainment;
Sporting & Cultural Activities
Class 42 Scientific and Technological;
Research & Design Relating
Class 43 Providing Food & Drink;
Class 44 Medical & Veterinary; Hygienic
& Beauty, Agri services.
Class 45 Legal; Physical Protection of
Tangible Property & Individuals.
Class 35 Advertising; Business Mgmt,
Class 36 Financial, Monetary &
Banking; Insurance and Real
Class 37 Installation & Repair; Mining
& Extraction, Oil & Gas
Class 38 Telecommunications services
Class 39 Transport; Packaging &
Storage of goods; Travel
General Rules for NCL Classification for Goods
- Finished Product classification → Function or Purpose. Classification using
Alphabetical List is made by analogy with other comparable finished products. If
can’t be found in Class & Alphabetical list then subsidiary criteria like product’s
material or modus operandi, are applied.
- Multipurpose finished products (e.g., clocks incorporating radios) may be
classified in all Classes that correspond to any of its functions or intended uages.
If not found in Class/Alphabetical list, apply the same aforementioned criteria.
- Raw materials, unworked, semi-worked are classified as per their constituting
- Goods intended to be a part of another product are classified in the same
class as of that product only when the similar goods can’t normally be used
for another purpose. In rest of the cases, the aforementioned criterion,
- When a finished or unfinished product, classified as per its constituting
material, and it is made of various materials, it should be classified in
accordance with the predominating material.
- Cases adapted to the product they are intended to contain are in principle
classified in the same class as the product.
- Services’ Classification ⇒ Branches of Activities (as per specified Classes & their Explanatory
Notes. Alike goods, services are also classified using Alphabetical List by analogy.
- Rental services →Same Classes as the service provided by the rented objects (e.g., Rental of
telephones, covered under Cl. 38).
● Leasing Services ↔analogous ↔ Rental Services (same class).
● Hire or lease-purchase financing → Cl. 36 (as financial service).
- Advisory, consultancy or information service → In the same Classes as the services
corresponding to the subject matter of such advice, consultation or information. Eg: Business
mgmt. consultancy under Cl. 35), Financial consultancy under Cl. 36). No effect of mode of
rendering of the advice, information or consultancy via electronic means.
- Services for franchising → In the same Class as the services provided by the franchisor (e.g.,
business advice relating to franchising under Cl. 35), financing services relating to franchising (
General Rules for NCL Classification for Services