A part of the trademark registration process for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is figuring out what international trade mark class best fits your good or service.
There are 45 classes in total, 34 goods categories and 11 service categories.
This article covers Trademark Class 15, which protects various types of musical instruments and their components.
What Is a Trademark?
A popular buzzword when it comes to marketing yourself or your business is “branding.”
People spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to brand themselves and their products. However, there are several simple steps you can do to protect your brand in the broader world.
A trademark is an image, logo, design, slogan, etc. that establishes your brand as the original source of the good or service your company provides.
When you register a trademark, you gain legal rights to protect your trademark and your business’ reputation from other parties.
Registering a Trademark
Once you figure out your brand, you should consider registering your trademark with the USPTO.
You may do so using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) on the USPTO’s website.
There are 3 main types of applications: the TEAS Plus form, the TEAS Reduced Fee form, and the TEAS Regular form.
There are different reasons for using each of these forms relating to costs and the type of business you own.
Generally, you’ll want to chat with a trademark attorney before choosing which form to fill out.
Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)
Before you register a mark you should also conduct a trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
Even in just your industry, there are a ton of different businesses and brands.
You should conduct research to make sure you aren’t infringing on their rights by creating a mark that is so similar it is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace.
You should still be careful even if a trademark is considered dead, abandoned, or inactive.
Abandoned trademarks often continue to enjoy common law trademark rights in certain areas.
What is a Class 15 Trademark?
Class 15 focuses on musical instruments and their components.
This category is pretty narrow compared to some of the other classes, so be sure that your product fits in before you register.
Some examples of stringed instruments in this class include guitars, violins, violas, cellos, basses, mandolins, lyres, banjos, harps, and balalaikas.
Other stringed instruments also fall under Class 15.
Some woodwind instruments included in this class are clarinets, oboes, saxophones, bagpipes, different kinds of flutes, and more.
Brass instruments like trumpets, trombones and different types of horns also fall under Class 15.
Many percussion instruments are in this class. Some examples include drums, gongs, the triangle, hand bells, kettledrums, tambourines, and tom-toms.
Instruments with keyboards such as pianos, organs, and accordions are also a part of Class 15.
There are a lot of other classes which include electrical components and items. However, any electric versions of these instruments and other electric musical instruments are in Class 15.
Components and Other Goods
Many different components and other related goods also fall under this class.
Common components you’ll find in this class include bellows, bow nuts, bows, bridges, catgut, chin rests, colophony, rosin, drum heads and skins, drumsticks, strings for different instruments, horsehair for bows, drum frames, keys for keyboard instruments, intensity regulators for mechanical pianos, mouthpieces, pedals, reeds, and valves.
Some other goods found in Class 15 are cases for musical instruments, music boxes, conductor’s batons, music stands, and other related support items.
You should note that Class 15 specifically relates to musical instruments, not any recording or mixing goods which might go with them.
For example, all audio recording and transmission goods, both software and hardware, can be found in Class 9.
Similarly, music production, recording, and composition services fall under Class 41.
If your business hires out musicians for performances, for example, you’ll want to file under Class 41 instead.
Trademark Class 15 broadly covers all forms of musical instruments and their components.
Registering for a trademark is a tricky process, so if you have questions about conducting research or the application process, an attorney can help you.