The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the federal agency in charge of trademark registration, categorizes marks into 45 different “classes” of products or services. Classes are essentially categories that are separated by the type of good or service offered. Even if two companies use the same trademark, they may not infringe on each other if the marks are for distinct goods or services. A window cleaning fluid made by a different company but bearing the same name, for example, would not infringe on an allergy medication called “Clear as Day.”
Medical care, hygienic products, and beauty care products for both humans and animals are included in Class 44, a very broad category. It also includes certain agricultural, horticultural, and forestry-related services.
The Trademark Class System
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 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.
Examples of Trademarks in Class 44
Consider RED MOUNTAIN ACUPUNCTURE (acupuncture services), 02 WELLNESS (alternative medical), and GOT TREES (tree maintenance). All of these are good examples of Class 44 marks.
You would choose Class 44 if you were registering any of these types of goods:
- medical analysis services relating to the treatment of persons (such as x-ray examinations and taking of blood samples)
- artificial insemination services
- pharmacy advice
- animal breeding
- services relating to the growing of plants such as gardening, or
- Services relating to floral art, such as floral compositions as well as garden design.
You would not use Class 44 if you were registering:
- vermin exterminating (other than for agriculture, horticulture, or forestry) (Class 37 – Construction and Repair Services)
- installation and repair services for irrigation systems (Class 37 – Construction and Repair Services)
- ambulance transport (Class 39 – Shipping and Travel Services)
- animal slaughtering services and taxidermy (Class 40 – Material Treatment Services)
- timber felling and processing (Class 40 – Material Treatment Services)
- animal training services (Class 41 – Education and Entertainment Services)
- health clubs for physical exercise (Class 41 – Education and Entertainment Services)
- scientific research services for medical purposes (Class 42 – Science and Technology Services)
- boarding for animals (Class 43 – Food Services), or
- Retirement homes (Class 43 – Food Services).
Related or “Coordinated” Classes
If you are not sure whether you should register in Class 44, you might also consider the following “coordinated” classes: Class 35 – Advertising and Business Services, Class 36 – Insurance and Financial Services, Class 37 – Construction and Repair Services, Class 38 – Telecommunications Services, Class 39 – Shipping and Travel Services, Class 40 – Material Treatment Services, Class 41 – Education and Entertainment Services, Class 42 – Science and Technology Services, Class 43 – Food Services, Class 45 – Legal and Security Services.
A coordinated class is one that is related to another class, typically because the USPTO has determined that applicants filing in Class 43 frequently also file in the coordinated classes.
Providing Specimens for Trademarks Class 44
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 43 services:
- news releases or news release-based articles
- Documents demonstrating trademark rather than service mark usage (use of the mark in connection with goods rather than services), such as invoices and packing slips, and letterhead or business cards that bear only the mark and a company name and address (use of the mark to identify a company, such as on letterhead). As previously discussed, one exception is if the letterhead or text of the letter identifies the services represented by the mark.
The majority of marks can be found in writing somewhere. 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.