TRADEMARK CLASS 33: Alcoholic beverages (except beers)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) divides federal trademarks into 45 different “classes” of goods or services when categorizing them. 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. True, it’s a complex classification system, but it ensures that companies with the same mark do not compete in the minds of consumers because their products are so dissimilar.

Consider a vodka brand called “Sky” and an airline also called “Sky.” No reasonable consumer would believe that both products came from the same place.

Examples of Trademarks in Class 33

Consider examples such as SWEET TORITO WINES (wines), TELLURIDE VODKA (vodka), and ADMIRAL NELSON’S (distilled spirits); all marks that fit neatly into Class 33.

You would not use Class 33 if you were registering medicinal beverages (Class 5 – Pharmaceuticals) de-alcoholized beverages (Class 32 – Beers and Beverages).

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Registering in Related or Coordinated Classes

If you are not sure whether you should register in Class 33, you might also consider the following “coordinated” classes: Class 5 – Pharmaceuticals, Class 29 – Meat, Fish, Poultry, Class 30 – Coffee, Flour, Bread, Candy, and Rice Products, Class 31 – Grains, Agriculture, Class 32 – Beers and 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, typically because the PTO has determined that applicants filing in Class 33 frequently also file in these other classes.

The trademark class system also has an impact on the registration fees you will pay. 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.

Furnishing Specimens for Class 33

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 33 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 33 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.