In order to “officially” lay claim to your company’s logo, design, or catch phrase, you should apply for a trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
When you submit your application, the USPTO will ask that you choose one (or more) of the 45 internationally recognized trademark classes to register your brand under.
Each class represents a different group of products and services.
In this article, we’ll go over Trademark Class 18, which protects all forms of leather good products.
Why Are There Trademark Classes?
Companies submit new trademark applications every day.
These applications are in addition to the thousands of trademarks that already exist.
For this reason, the USPTO divides trademarks into different internationally-recognized groups called the “Nice” trademark classes.
These classes help businesses avoid consumer confusion by prohibiting similar brands from operating in the same spaces.
In this way, two companies can exist with the same name or branding as long as they register under different classes.
Similarly, one brand can register under several different classes in order to protect the various different aspects of their brand.
The Class 18 Trademark
Class 18 broadly protects all forms of leather and imitation leather goods.
Additionally, many non-leather goods are included in this class as well, such as horse blankets and umbrellas.
Leather and Non-Leather Luggage
Any and all suitcases and bags fall under Class 18. This includes purses, sports bags, briefcases, slings, and tool bags.
Wallets, card holders, and billfolds are also included in this category.
Pelts, Hides, and Fur
Chamois skins, curried skins, furs, moleskin, and strips of leather for braiding, trim, or straps are also included in Trademark Class 18.
This includes any fake leather and fake fur versions as well.
Leather Animal Supplies
Class 18 also covers most leather items for pets and other animals, such as:
- Saddles, bridles, and blinders
Non-leather items for horses and other animals are also in this class, including:
- Horse blankets
- Saddle pads
- Bitter training spray
Other Items in Trademark Class 18
Several other miscellaneous items also fall under this class, such as:
- Umbrellas and Parasols – Including both the umbrella and all parts of the umbrella (ribs, handle, and rings).
- Canes and Walking Sticks – Class 18 covers the handle and the seat (if there is one) of the walking stick as well as the stick itself.
Related Products That Are Not in Class 18
In some cases, it might be hard to pin your product down into a specific class.
If you’re not sure whether or not your product belongs in Class 18, consider a few of these related classes:
- Class 22: Ropes and Fiber Products – Leather ropes and whips are in Class 18. All other forms of ropes and fibers generally fall under Class 22.
- Class 24: Fabrics – While fake fur is in Class 18, fabrics that look like animal skin (but aren’t real) are in Class 24.
- Class 25: Clothing and Apparel – If the leather item is an article of clothing, it goes into Class 25. This includes anything you wear, such as leather headgear and shoes.
Class 18 is a trademark class that covers much more than its label suggests.
Its title may be “leather goods,” but it also covers all bags, cases, and wallets, regardless of what they are made of.
Other animal products such as pelts and fur are in Class 18 too, even if the fur is fake.
Finally, seemingly unrelated items such as walking sticks and umbrellas are in Class 18 as well.
If your product or service covers more than one class, you may file under multiple classes, but you will have to pay the filing fee for each class.
It’s a good idea to get advice from an experienced trademark attorney before you apply for a trademark.
The USPTO often rejects trademark applications due to incorrect information or filing.
A lawyer can make sure you are filing under the correct class and can search the database to see if there are any other marks in that class that are too similar to your own.