When no one was looking, the 42 “Nice” goods and service classes for trademark registration grew by 3 at midnight on New Years Eve.
New Development: Three new product classes for which brands can be registered.
Up until the end of 2001, registering a trademark involved selecting which of the 42 classes of goods and services ("the Nice classification") to register the brand in. Making the right selection is important. If a brand is registered for, say, t-shirts in the clothing class 25 in the UK, the registration can be used to stop all comers from using the same brand, in the UK, in connection with t-shirts. The fees paid on filing an application to register a trademark depend on how many classes registration is sought in. The basic £200 fee covers one class. Registration in other classes costs an extra £50 per class. Up until the end of 2001, classes 1-34 covered categories of goods, for instance alcoholic beverages except beer in class 33, and games and Christmas tree decorations in class 28. Classes 35 to 42 covered types of services, for instance advertising services in class 35 and telecommunications in class 38.
What has changed:
Since 1 January 2002 there have been 3 new classes, classes 43 to 45. They are all for services. The new class 43 covers "services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation”. Class 44 covers "medical services, veterinary services, hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals, agriculture, horticulture and forestry services". Class 45 covers "personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals; security services for the protection of property and individuals".
Not all of these service types are new to the Nice classification and some of the existing service categories have been switched around. This means that if you are thinking of using a new brand for a service and looking to arrange a search to see if somebody has got there first, extra care will be needed to ensure that the correct classes are searched. Another factor to bear in mind is that, internationally, not all countries outside the European Union have adopted the new classes. One of the great advantages of the old Nice classification was that it was universally accepted and used. Now this has changed, there will again be a need for particular care when conducting pre-emptive searches.