A trademark is a legally registered logo, word, or phrase that represents a company. If your company has an identifying mark such as a logo, you may want to protect it with a trademark.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approves all trademark applications in the U.S.
In the course of its duties, the USPTO approves all trademarks for one or more of 45 different classes, each representing a different group of products or services.
In this article, we will talk about trademark Class 39, which broadly protects all marks related to shipping and travel services.
Why are there Different Trademark Classes?
The USPTO breaks trademarks down into classes, not only for organizational purposes but also to be able to approve more trademarks.
If two trademark classes with the same name apply for a trademark, they can both obtain approval if they aren’t in the same class.
For example, Thrifty rental cars and Thrifty grocery stores can both be trademarked because they are not in the same class and are therefore not in competition with each other.
When your company applies for a trademark, you will have to state which class or classes you are applying for.
You must be careful to categorize your company in the correct class, or the USPTO may outright reject your application.
In this way, you may need to file under more than one class for your application to be correct.
Trademark Class 39
Some trademark classes are used to identify products. Other trademark classes identify only services. There are no trademark classes that cover both products and services.
In this way, trademark Class 39 is a service class that covers all travel and shipping services.
We’ll list a few common types of business that might file under this class below, but really any business that deals with travel or shipping can file under this class.
Most commonly, Class 39 is used to register trademarks for businesses that transport people.
For example, travel agencies that book seats on airplanes, trains, cars, buses, or any other type of transportation are in this class.
This class also involves travel by boat (cruises), taxis, and streetcars, and ambulances. Wheelchair and bicycle rentals fall under this class as well.
Travel Services for Vacationers
Services that arrange sightseeing tours for vacationers are also in this class.
Rental of navigation systems and map plotting services are also included in this category.
Transport of Goods
“Transport of goods” means the transport of literally anything, from heavy cargo to your daily newspaper.
For this reason, freight services by train, boat, or motor vehicle are in this class, as well as guarded transport of valuable goods, like armored trucks.
Ferry boat transport and canal locks are here too.
Other transport-related services in this category include:
- Furniture transport
- Removal of trash or goods
- Cargo loading and unloading services
- Aircraft engine rental
- Traffic information services
- Delivery and courier services (including both mail and packages)
Storage and Towing for Vehicles
Companies that provide parking spots or parking garages are also in this class. Similarly, boat storage services are in this category, too.
Towing companies, whether they are towing cars, boats, or other motor vehicles, are in Class 39 as well.
Rescue and Recovery
Rescue operations, like ship salvage, also fall in this category.
This can also include things like the refloating of ships and certain diving services, as well as some kinds of search and rescue services.
Pipeline and Cables
Oddly, Class 39 doesn’t only apply to the transport of people and cargo, but also things such as data, electricity, and water by pipes and cables.
Companies that provide or construct pipelines and networks for transporting these things would also register under Class 39.
Related Products that Don’t Appear in Class 39
While a fleet of vehicles might file under Class 39, marks which service and repair them do not.
Instead, they fall under Class 37 (construction and repair services).
Marks relating to travel insurance and other insurance services which cover the transport of people and goods go in Class 36 (Insurance and finance services).
Similarly, traveler’s checks and credit services specifically for travelers also fall under Class 36.
If a travel agency also covers booking hotel rooms (or other rooms for rent), they may also have to file under Class 43 (food services).
Class 39 covers travel services and transport of goods.
It also involves the storage and rental of vehicles and vehicle-related things.
An experienced trademark attorney can help you understand the trademark classes and choose the appropriate class.
A lawyer can also make sure you are not using a trademark that is too similar to another company’s before you go through the application process.