What are the classifications of goods and services that are essential for trademark registration?

What should I include in the classification of my trademark application?

I am preparing an application for a trademark to be submitted to the Japan Patent Office.
What information should be included in the field marked 【the designated goods or designated services and the class of goods or services】?

You must state the goods or services for which you intend to register the trademark and the classification to which the goods or services belong. Your goods and services will be classified in categories 1 through 45.

What can I look for to find that classification? Is there a way to search?

Use the J-PlatPat database or the examination criteria for similar goods and services posted on the JPO website!

It’s true! Easier than I thought it would be to figure out what category my product is in.

When filing a trademark application to the Japan Patent Office, it is necessary to identify the classification of goods or services for which you are applying.

This article will answer your questions about what a classification is and how to know the classification of your goods or services.

What is a classification?

The goods and services offered as a business are categorized into 45 classes.
Goods are categorized in classes 1 through 34, and services are categorized in classes 35 through 45.

Since there is a column in the Japanese trademark application document to state the classification as “Class XX,” it is necessary to know in advance which classification your goods or services fall under.

History of International Classification and Classification

In fact, classification is not a system unique to Japan.
Japan used to adopt its own classification system, but when it joined the “Nice Agreement on the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Registration of Marks (commonly known as the Nice Agreement)” in 1990 for the purpose of international harmonization of the trademark system, the classification system was switched to the international classification adopted in the Nice Agreement.

The current number of classifications is 45 for goods and services combined, but in the Taisho era, there were as many as 70 for goods alone (the old classification of goods under the Trademark Law of 1926).
In the Showa era, the number of goods classifications was reduced from 70 to 34, and furthermore, in the Heisei era, the number of services classifications was increased after joining the Nice Agreement.
Thus, classification is a system that has been put in place surprisingly recently.

In addition, the content of the classification has changed slightly each year in accordance with the international classification, which is revised every year.
The types and names of goods and services included in each classification may change, and new goods and services that did not exist in the past may be added, so you can feel the changing times just by looking at the changes in the contents of the classifications.

For example, the following are the items that will be changed as of January 1, 2023.
・Goods and services whose classification has changed
  Class 9 “ear plugs for swimmers” to Class 10
  Class 26 “needles for sewing machines” to Class 7
・Goods and services added
  Class 30 “artificial sweeteners for culinary purposes”
  Class 45 “security and safety services for crowds”

Every year in December, the changes are announced on the JPO website, and trademark examinations begin on January 1 of the following year with the new classifications, goods, and services that incorporate the changes.

So that’s why Mr. DX is so fidgety during the New Year holidays…!
If you file an application for “needles for sewing machines” in class 26 after January 2023, your application will be rejected, so it is a relief to know that Amazing DX is updated on January 1.

Points to keep in mind when selecting the classification

Cost increases as the number of classifications increases

In many trademark-related procedures, the number of classifications determines the fee.
The same is true for the fees paid to the Japan Patent Office when applying for and registering a trademark.
In addition, the fees of trademark attorneys’ offices are also often determined by the number of classes.

If you have a fixed budget, you should pay attention to the number of classifications.

Please also refer to this article.

If you make a mistake in the number of classifications

It is not possible to add classifications or designated goods/services later after filing an application.

If you make a mistake in selecting the wrong classification, even if your trademark is registered, it may all be for naught.

For example, let’s say you own a nail salon.
You want to apply for a trademark for the name of your nail salon.

What is performed in a nail salon is a nail beauty service. Therefore, in this instance, it is correct to select class 44.

If the company manufactures its own transfer seals for nails and sells them through an online store, then it would be better to select classes 3 and 35 as well.

It is important to note that transfer seals are in Class 16, but transfer seals for nails are in Class 3.

If you file a trademark application for a transfer seals in Class 16, even though you are making transfer seals for nails, you will not have trademark rights for transfer seals for nails.
Even if counterfeit nail polish transfer seals with your branding appear on the market, you will not be able to file a claim for injunction or damages, and your trademark right will be wasted.

Thus, it is necessary to know exactly which classification your goods or service belongs to when filing an application.
If you are unable to determine the classification of your goods/services by using the search method described below, it is recommended that you contact a patent attorney.

How to search for the classification of your goods/services

Search on J-PlatPat

J-PlatPat, provided by the National Center for Industrial Property Information and Training (INPIT), is a database for searching Japanese trademarks.
To find out the classification of your goods or services, use J-PlatPat’s Product/Service Name Search.

For example, if you want to know which category “drinking water” falls under, please search as follows

Then, a list of product/service names containing the word “drinking water” will be displayed.

The classification is written in the second column from the left of the search result table. You can see that “drinking water” is in class 32, “filters for drinking water” is in class 11, and “rental of drinking water coolers” is in class 43.

When searching by Japanese words, please set the language used to Japanese and enter Japanese words in the name of the goods or services.

Search by JPO’s Examination Guidelines for Similar Goods and Services

Search using the Examination Guidelines for Similar Goods and Services(Version 2023) on the JPO website.

The Examination Guidelines for Similar Goods and Services is updated every year on January 1.

The classification of goods and services may have changed, so be sure to check the one corresponding to the year in which you are filing your trademark application.

Download the similar goods/services examination criteria for that year in a batch and search for the name of the product or service you wish to examine.
You can use the Ctrl+F key or Shift+Ctrl+F key to search.

Overview of each category

List by category

Please refer to the following articles for details on what specific goods and services are included in each category.

Classification guide

For reference, here is an overview of each category as follows.

Class 1Chemicals for industrial, scientific or agricultural use
Class 2Conditioning products for paints, colorings and corrosion inhibitors
Class 3Cleaning agents and cosmetics
Class 4Industrial oils, industrial fats and oils, fuels and optical agents
Class 5Drugs
Class 6Base metals and products thereof
Class 7Processing machinery, prime movers (excluding those for land vehicles) Other machinery
Class 8Manual tools
Class 9Machinery and appliances for scientific, navigational, surveying, photographic, acoustic, visual, measuring, signaling, inspection, lifesaving, educational, calculating or information processing purposes, optical machinery and appliances, and machinery and appliances for conducting electricity, for switching on and off electric circuits, for transforming, storing, regulating voltage or controlling electricity
Class 10Medical appliances and instruments and medical supplies
Class 11Equipment for lighting, heating, steam generation, cooking, cooling, drying, ventilation, water supply or sanitation
Class 12Vehicles and other apparatus for moving about
Class 13Firearms and pyrotechnics
Class 14Precious metals, articles of precious metal not elsewhere classified, jewelry and watches
Class 15Musical instruments
Class 16Paper, paper products and office supplies
Class 17Plastics for materials and materials for electrical insulation, heat insulation or soundproofing
Class 18Leather and imitations thereof, travel goods and harness
Class 19Non-metallic building materials
Class 20Furniture and plastic products not elsewhere classified
Class 21Manual utensils for household or kitchen use, cosmetics, glassware and porcelain ware
Class 22Rope products, canvas products, materials for stuffing and raw textile fibres for textiles
Class 23Yarn for textile fabrics
Class 24Woven fabrics and textile covers for household use
Class 25Clothing and footwear
Class 26Sewing goods
Class 27Floor coverings and non-woven wall coverings
Class 28Cancer equipment, playthings and sports equipment
Class 29animal products and processed vegetables and other edible horticultural produce
Class 30Processed vegetable foods (excluding those belonging to other classes) and seasonings
Class 31Unprocessed land products, live animals and plants, and feed
Class 32Alcohol-free beverages and beer
Class 33Alcoholic beverages except beer
Class 34Cigarettes, smoking implements and matches
Class 35Advertisements, business management or administration, office work, and the provision of benefits to customers in the course of retail or wholesale business
Class 36Finance, insurance and real estate transactions
Class 37Construction, installation and repair
Class 38Telecommunications
Class 39Transportation, packing and storage and travel arrangements
Class 40Processing or other treatment of goods
Class 41Education, training, recreation, sports and cultural activities
Class 42Science, technology or industry research and design, and design and development of computers or software
Class 43Providing food and drink and lodging
Class 44Medical care, treatment of animals, hygiene and beauty services relating to persons or animals, and services relating to agriculture, horticulture or forestry
Class 45Services relating to weddings, funerals, and other services provided to meet individual needs (excluding those belonging to other classes) Security and legal services

Source: Examination Guidelines for Similar Goods and Services (corresponding to the Nice Classification, 12th Edition, Version 2023), effective January 1, 2023, Japan Patent Office, pp. 2-1, 2-2.

List of Industries

If you would like to see which classification your industry tends to fall under, please check the following article.

Let’s check the classification of designated goods/services (services) by business category!

If you are confused about the classification

If you are not sure which class to choose, please feel free to chat with one of our trademark attorneys who will be happy to answer your questions.

In addition, Amazing DX has many advantages in selecting a classification.

We hope you will make use of this information. Go to Trademark Search

Supervisor for the article:
Osaka Legal Strategy Department General Manager Akinori HACHIYA
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