The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the federal agency in charge of overseeing the registration of federal trademarks, categorizes marks into 45 different “classes” of goods 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. Even if two trademarks are identical, the USPTO understands that they do not necessarily compete with one another. Consider the names “Prepared” for an SAT tutoring company and “Prepared” for a home security company. Reasonable consumers would not be confused by the same name, nor would they assume that both products are made by the same company. In other words, because they serve different markets, both “Prepared” companies can exist with their own trademarks.
Services in Class 41 include education, tutoring, training, entertainment, and a variety of sporting and cultural activities. Class 41 primarily includes services provided by individuals or institutions to educate people or train animals, as well as services intended to entertain. This category includes the following items in particular:
- Services encompassing all forms of human education and animal training.
- services with the primary goal of providing people with entertainment, amusement, or recreation
- Presentation of works of visual art or literature to the public for cultural or educational purposes, as well as chemical products used in industry, science, and agriculture, including those used in the manufacture of other products.
Examples of Trademarks in Class 41
Consider names such as AKRON RACERS (conducting athletic competitions), CEO PERSPECTIVES (executive workshops), or MERCK ACADEMY (educational services), all of which are good examples of Class 41 marks.
Related or Coordinated Classes
If you are undecided about enrolling in Class 41, you may want to look into the “coordinated” classes listed below: Business Services, Insurance and Finance Services (Class 36), Construction and Repair Services (Class 37), Telecommunications Services (Class 38), Shipping and Travel Services (Class 39), Material Treatment Services (Class 40), Science, and Technology Services (Class 42), Food Services (Class 43), Medical and Veterinary Services (Class 44), or Legal and Security Services (Class 45).
A coordinated class is related to another class, typically because the PTO has determined that applicants filing in Class 41 frequently also file in these other classes.
The fees you will be charged are also related to the class system. 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 registration is 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.
Supplying Specimens for Class 41
A service specimen must demonstrate the use of the mark in a way that potential purchasers would interpret as identifying the applicant’s services and indicating their source. The specimen must show an association between the mark and the services for which registration is sought when the mark is used in advertising the services. A specimen that only shows the mark and no reference to the services does not demonstrate service mark usage.
When you provide a service, you do not have a product to which you can apply a label. A variety of materials that cannot be used for product marks are acceptable specimens for services. Scanned copies of advertising and marketing materials, such as newspaper and magazine ads, brochures, billboards, direct mail pieces, and menus, are included (for restaurants).
Letterhead stationery and business cards bearing the mark may be used if the services are clearly reflected on them because the name or symbol claimed as a mark would be used to identify the services provided in that context—that is, as a mark rather than a trade name. If the mark appears and the services are described in the letter, a letter on stationery will even be accepted as a specimen for a service mark.
In the case of Internet-based services, a screenshot of the entire Web page should suffice. The more prominently displayed the mark on the home page, the better.
The following specimens are not acceptable for Class 41 service marks:
- Documents demonstrating trademark rather than service mark usage (use of the mark in connection with goods rather than services) invoices and similar documents such as packing slips letterhead or business cards that bear only the mark and a company name and address;
- unless the letterhead or text of the letter identifies the services represented by the mark
Audio trademarks are also a possibility. While most grades are written, you may also submit audio files. You may submit a sound file of the audio if your mark represents a service and appears only on radio ads or in other audio forms.