Classification of Trademarks

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Classification of Trademarks

Different countries have different classifications of trademarks according to the goods and services provided by that country and their rules. A general classification of trademarks can be done into:

  • Service Marks
  • Certification Marks
  • Collective Marks

Service Marks:
A service mark is a name, logo, brand, word, phrase, symbol or design of service that you provide as a person or as a company. This service mark distinguishes you from other services or companies.

Certification Marks:
Certification mark on a product indicates the authenticity of its standards and regulations. The presence of this mark on a product represents that the product has successfully passed the standard test prescribed for the product by the standards organisation. This assures the quality of the products like toys, electronic goods etc.

Collective Marks:
This is a trademark owned by an organisation or an association collectively. These marks are also used to indicate a specific characteristic, geographical region or quality marked by an organisation.

“We all need to reap the fruits of our labour and we definitely don’t want it stolen or misused, so it’s a good idea to protect your services and products under trademarks registration.”

Nice Classification
There are a group of classification for each of this category under international laws such as ‘International Nice Classification of Goods and Services’, also known as ‘Nice Classification’. This international system enables efficient searches for conflicting trademarks and is agreed and used by more than 150 countries. This system benefits not only registry staff, but also users who want to check any conflict with mark they are using.

In general, trademarks can be categorised into the following types:

  • Generic Marks
  • Descriptive Marks
  • Suggestive Marks
  • Fanciful Marks
  • Arbitrary Marks
  • Unconventional Trademarks

Generic Marks:
A generic mark doesn’t qualify as a trademark (due to its popularity or significance) until it specifies more details like qualities, characteristics or ingredients.

Descriptive Marks:
These trademarks describe the product or service, making it a unique element which applies to that product or service only.

Suggestive Marks:
These marks suggest the nature, quality or characteristic of the product or service, it is not descriptive thus requires the use of imagination to connect to the product or service.

Fanciful Marks:
These marks are made up words that do not hold any meaning in common language. They function as trademark in relation to a specific product only. These are considered as the strongest type of trademarks.

Arbitrary Marks:
Arbitrary marks are words of everyday life but here they represent something entirely different. For example, a fruit or animal name used to represent a service or a product.

Unconventional trademarks:
These are not conventional trademarks. They get their recognition from a distinctive feature. They are mainly of following types:

  • Sound Marks
  • Colour Marks
  • Shape Marks
  • Smell Marks

The Nice Classification in Singapore

Singapore is a signatory to ‘Nice Classification’, for registration of your trademarks, you are required to state the exact class number and appropriate specification of your goods and/or services.

Goods and Services are divided into 45 Classes:

  • Classes 1 to 34 relate to Goods.
  • Classes 35 to 45 relate to services.

Nice classification contains around 10,000 indications of Goods and services.

More information about the types of goods and services belonging to each class can be found here.

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