TRADEMARK CLASS 31: Grains, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), the federal agency in charge of federal trademark registration, categorizes marks into 45 different “classes” of products or services. The goal of these classes is to allow different types of businesses to register their trademarks in categories that are most closely related to their core business.

Beers, mineral and aerated waters, and other non-alcoholic beverages are included in Trademark Class 32, as are fruit beverages and fruit juices, as well as syrups and other beverage preparations.

Examples of Trademarks in Class 32

Examples of Class 32 marks include JB’s (soft drinks), SCHLOTZSKY’S (bottled water), and COORS LIGHT (beer).

You would not use Class 32 if you were registering:

  • beverages for medical purposes (Class 5 – Pharmaceuticals)
  • milk beverages (milk predominating) (Class 29 – Meat, Fish, Poultry), or
  • Beverages with coffee, cocoa, or chocolate base (Class 30 – Coffee, Flour, Rice).

Related or Coordinated Classes

If you are not sure whether you should register in Class 32, you might also consider the following “coordinated” classes: Class 5 – Pharmaceuticals, Class 29 – Meat, Fish, Poultry, Class 30 – Coffee, Flour, Rice, Class 31 – Grains, Agriculture, Class 33 – Alcoholic Beverages, Class 35 – Advertising and Business Services, Class 42 – Science and Technology Services, and Class 43 – Food Services. A coordinated class is related to another class, usually, because the PTO has determined that applicants filing within Class 32 often file in the coordinated classes, too.

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How Does the Class System Work?

For maximum protection, your first instinct may be to register your beer or juice mark in all 45 classes, or at least in all coordinated classes. Not only would the PTO most likely reject such an approach, but keep in mind that registration fees increase as the number of classes you register for increases.

A class system governs trademark registration. You must pay a separate registration fee for each class of goods or services that you register. So, if you want to apply for a trademark for posters (Class 16) and shirts (Class 25), you’ll have to pay two fees.

When registering a trademark, you must specify the correct class. If you enter the wrong class, you must restart the application process. Your registrations are limited to classes that include the goods or services that you already offer (as evidenced by the specimens you submit) or that you intend to offer (if you are registering on an intent-to-use basis). In order to narrow a search of the PTO’s trademark database, you may also need information about the class number.

Specimens to Supply for Class 32

If you are registering a mark that is currently in use in commerce, you must provide a specimen of the mark as it is seen by consumers. The specimen must show the mark as it is used on or in connection with commercial goods. A trademark specimen should be a label, tag, or container for the goods, or a display relating to the goods. Acceptable is a photocopy or other reproduction of a specimen of the mark as it is actually used on or in connection with the goods.

A label is an acceptable specimen in most cases where the trademark is applied to the goods or containers for the goods in Class 32 by means of labels. Shipping or mailing labels may be accepted if they are attached to the goods or containers for the goods and show proper trademark usage. They are not acceptable if the mark as shown is used as a trade name rather than a trademark. One example is using the term solely as a return address.

A proper method of trademark affixation is to stamp a trademark on the goods, on the container, or tags or labels attached to the goods or containers. The trademark can be imprinted in the body of the goods, as with metal stamping, applied with a rubber stamp, or inked on with a stencil or template. Photographs or facsimiles of the actual stamping or stenciling are acceptable as specimens when a trademark is used in this manner.

The phrase “applied to the containers for the goods” refers to any type of commercial packaging that is standard for the specific goods as they move in trade. As a result, displaying the trademark on the normal commercial package for the specific Class 32 goods is an acceptable specimen. Gasoline pumps, for example, are standard containers or “packaging” for gasoline.

If this is the normal mode of use of a mark for the particular goods, a specimen showing the use of the trademark on a vehicle in which the goods are marketed to the relevant purchasers may constitute use of the mark on a container for the goods.