A trademark protects your logo, company phrase, or symbol from infringement by another company or brand.
When you apply for a trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you’ll have to choose a specific trademark class to file under.
Each of the 45 different classes represent a distinct type of product or service, so you’ll want to make sure you register under the correct one.
In this article, we’ll talk about Trademark Class 16, which broadly protects any and all products made from paper.
Why Are There Different Trademark Classes?
By having different classes of trademarks, the USPTO allows for different companies to trademark the same company name or logo as long as they are filing under different classes.
For example, the company name “Choice” can refer to a waste management company or a chain of hotels.
The USPTO can approve both company’s trademarks because they operate in totally separate market spaces.
The whole point of trademark law is avoiding consumer confusion, so you’ll want to make sure you both (1) register your mark under the correct class, and (2) take care you don’t infringe on an already existing mark in the specific class.
Providing a Specimen for a Class 16 Product
As one final note before we get into Class 16, when you apply for a trademark the USPTO will ask you for a “specimen” of your mark.
This means that they want to see your mark the way that the public will see it on a product or along with a service.
To provide a specimen, you must design and print your mark to show. Your mark could be on a label, a stamp, or imprinted on a product itself.
If you can show the mark on an actual product, especially if that product has been marketed and sold already, you’re more likely to get approval for your trademark.
Trademark Class 16 Products
Trademark Class 16 has to do with all forms of paper goods.
This includes paper, cardboard, books, and paper packaging materials.
Any and all book and book-related products are in Trademark Class 16.
This not only includes the paper parts of books, but also the adhesives and bindings for books, booklets, and book packaging (even if it’s cloth or plastic).
Here are some other book-related items in this category:
- Bookbinding cloth
In addition to the actual paper used to make art, many products which create designs on that paper can also fall under Class 16.
For example, paintbrushes, canvases, pencils and charcoal, and all pens and pencils are in this class as well.
Other art supplies in Class 16 include products such as:
- Embroidery designs
- Painting rollers
- Modeling clay, wax, and paste
- Marking chalk
- Paint trays, brushes, palettes, and easels
This class also includes most office supplies as well as office machinery.
Typewriters (and all typewriter parts), paper shredders, and other common office machines are all included in this category.
Other office supplies in Class 16 include products such as:
- Paper clips
- Stamps and ink, including ink ribbons
- Stationary and envelopes
- Maps and atlases
- Any cardboard tubes
- Correcting fluid
Other Paper Items
Class 16 also includes items made from paper such as paper coasters, those little paper sleeves on cigars, and paper towels.
Almost all items made of paper are in this category. Some other examples include:
- Greeting cards
- The glossy paper for magazines
- Packaging and packing materials
- Coffee filters
- Paper plates and bowls
- Paper place mats
- Cardboard signs or placards
- Wrapping paper
Plastic and Rubber Items
Finally, Class 16 also covers certain rubber items which are related to paper.
This list included products such as rubber bands, rubber erasers, plastic bubble wrap, and plastic cling film for pallets.
Related Products Not Found in Class 16
There are several related products which fall under other trademark classes instead of Class 16.
Generally, this is simply because these products fit better with other types of items.
If you aren’t sure whether your product falls under Class 16 or a related class, consider a few of these closely related categories:
- Class 2: Paints – Paint supplies are in Class 16, but the paints themselves belong in Class 2.
- Class 8: Hand Tools – This class would include tools used by artists (not to be confused with art supplies.) Class 8 covers carving sets, chisels, and spatulas used in art and sculpture.
- Class 9: Computers and Scientific Devices – Office machines in Class 16 do not include computers. Computers are instead in Class 9.
- Class 35: Advertising and Business Services – While the materials that the placards and signs are made of are in Class 16, the advertisement that is placed upon them belongs in Class 35.
Trademark Class 16 has to do with paper, office, and art supplies. If it’s made of paper, it’s probably in Class 16.
Your product or service could include more than one class.
If so, you may file under multiple classes, but you will have to pay the filing fee for each class.
Be sure to get advice from an experienced trademark attorney before you apply for a trademark.
That way, you can be sure to file your trademark application under the correct class, thus avoiding the costs associated with a rejected application.