A trademark provides legal protection for a company’s identifying logo, word, or phrase from being used by someone else.
Businesses must apply for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The USPTO divides all trademarks into 45 different classes, each class representing a different group of products or services.
This article will discuss Trademark Class 34, which offers protections to brands that sell tobacco products.
Why are Trademark Classes Necessary?
The 45 international trademark classes are used by the USPTO to categorize the marks of different brands.
Essentially, each class relates to a particular grouping of either products or services.
Another reason that trademarks are useful is for protecting the branding of a business within a particular class.
By dividing trademarks into classes, a company in one class can bar any other business from using similar branding in that class.
However, businesses which register under different trademark classes may still use similar marks in commerce.
This is why “Dove Soap” and “Dove Ice Cream” can both be trademarked at the same time, since they operate in inherently separate markets.
Therefore, it’s unlikely anyone will confuse the two companies.
Choosing the right class can be a tricky business.
If you don’t file under the correct class, the USPTO will reject your application, and you will have to start the application process over again (and pay another fee).
Trademark Class 34
Trademark Class 34 covers all tobacco products, as well as most smoking accessories.
In this way, the products covered by this class can be broken down into the what and the how of tobacco.
“The What”: Objects Which Contain Tobacco
Most objects that contain tobacco fall under Trademark Class 34 by default.
Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, and pipe tobacco are all included in this class.
Class 34 also includes several types of tobacco substitutes, such as electronic cigarettes or other plant-based alternatives.
The only exception would be substitutes intended for medical use, which would instead fall under Class 5.
“The How”: Matches, Lighters, and Tobacco Accessories
In addition to tobacco products, many different companion products are also included in this class.
Matches, lighters, ashtrays, cigar holders, cigarette filters, pipes, spittoons, and cigar cutters are all examples of products which fall under this class.
While somewhat outdated, certain kinds of tobacco containers are also included in this class.
Snuff boxes, tobacco pouches, cigarette cases, and various pipe accessories all fall under this class as well.
Trademarks are an important part of marketing your business.
Wise businesses protect their identifying mark with a trademark to keep other companies from using it.
Trademark Class 34 includes all tobacco products and accessories.
If you are considering applying for a trademark with the USPTO, you may want to hire the services of a trademark lawyer.
A lawyer will be able to make sure that you are filing under the correct class and that you are not infringing on any other trademark in that class.
Filing your trademark application correctly the first time will keep it from being rejected by the USPTO, and will ultimately save you time and money.