The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) divides trademarks into 45 different categories, each representing a different product or service.
Businesses apply for trademarks to legally protect their company’s identifying logo, word, or phrase.
Essentially, a trademark keeps anyone else from using your company’s identifying marks.
When you attempt to register your trademark with the USPTO, they’ll ask you what trademark class your brand falls under.
Being able to answer this question correctly is critical to the success of your application.
In this article, we’ll cover Class 40, which broadly protects brands which provide services that treat or otherwise alter certain materials.
Broadly Speaking, What are Trademark Classes?
Having different classes allows the USPTO to approve more trademarks.
This is because no two marks can register under the same trademark class.
For example, the USPTO can approve a trademark for both “Delta” Dental Company and “Delta” Airlines since they are in different trademark classes.
The reasoning is that since they provide radically different things to consumers, the likelyhood of mixing up the two businesses is rather low.
To get around this fact, a company can apply under more than one trademark class as long as they can prove they provide goods or services in each new class.
For instance, if a travel agency provides booking services for air and train travel, but also books hotel rooms, they will have to file under both Class 39 (transportation and storage), and Class 43 (hotels and restaurants).
Trademark Class 40
As stated, Class 40 mostly covers services that relate to the treatment or transformation of materials.
This “treatment” usually involves chemical or mechanical processing, but it can also include the transformation of organic products.null
From old-fashioned blacksmithing to futuristic cryopreservation, all services that treat and change materials register their marks in Class 40.
Some examples include services such as:
- Gold plating
- Oil processing/refining
- Window tinting
- Timber felling and processing of lumber
- Pottery firing
- Cloth dying
Any company that produces and sells energy falls under Class 40. This also includes businesses that rent boilers, generators, air conditioners, and space heaters.
Waste Treatment and Recycling
Burning, treating, or destroying trash for disposal also falls under Class 40. Similarly, any business that provides recycling services can also register in this class.
Air and Water Purification and Treatment
This includes all businesses that provide air or water treatment services. Companies that purify or deodorize the air or treat and clean water are in class 40.
Leather and Fur Treatment
Conditioning of leather and fur fall under this category. This includes any service related to dying, waterproofing, moth-proofing, and staining both leather and fur.
Manufacturing and Assembly
Glassblowing, clothing alterations, key cutting, and knitting are all in the “custom services” category, which also falls under Class 40.
Some other interesting services in this class are taxidermy and picture framing since the person providing the services is still technically changing the original product.
Treatment of Food and Beverages
Companies that provide services that treat food and beverages are in this class. In this way, freezing, juicing, crushing, smoking, and preserving food are all services that are included in Class 40.
The slaughtering of animals is considered “treatment” of the meat, and therefore the USPTO puts it in Plass 40.
Related Items that are Not in Class 40
Choosing the right trademark class for your product or service can be tricky. There are several classes, and many different products and services fall under each trademark class.
Sometimes the choice may be obvious, but othertimes the product or service is hard to categorize.
If you’re not sure whether your service falls under Class 40, consider these related cases:
- While the treatment of fur and leather is in Class 40, the fur and leather products themselves could be in trademark Class 18 (leather products), or Class 25 (clothing).
- Food and beverage treatment is in this class, but the actual food product could appear in either Class 29 (meat and processed foods) or Class 30 (staple food products).
- Forestry, horticulture, and the raising of live animals fall under Class 31 (natural agricultural products).
- Beverages are divided up based on whether or not they contain alcohol. The two beverage classes are Class 32 (light beverages) and Class 33 (wines and spirits).
When you apply for a trademark with the USPTO, they will require you to choose which class(es) your product or service should be in.
Choosing the correct class is important, since the USPTO will reject your application if it’s filled out incorrectly.
If that happens, you’ll have to start all over again, wasting a good deal of time and money.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the services of an experienced trademark lawyer during this process to make sure your application is filled out correctly.