What Trade Mark Class Should I Use for an App?
With apps being a multi-billion dollar industry and growing each year, making your app stand out from the crowd can be difficult. One such way to ensure the success of your app is to protect your intellectual property (IP). Having a trade mark is one type of IP protection that can help protect your brand and further your brand reputation. A key element of this process is trade mark classes, as this classification system will determine the scope of your protection.
To help you understand trade mark classes and how they relate to your app, this article will take you through the trade mark classes that are most important for your app.
What are Trade Mark Classes?
A trade mark provides you with exclusive rights over your business assets. Trade marks can take many forms and may be your business’:
- image or logo;
- packaging shape; or
- combination of the above.
When applying for a trade mark, you are required to select the categories of goods or services that you will use your trade mark in. These categories are referred to as trade mark classes. For example, in the Nice trade mark classification system, there are 45 classes, of which 34 are for goods, and 11 are for services.
Why Are Trade Mark Classes Important?
After submitting your trade mark application, you cannot add more classes to your application. This means that you cannot overlook the importance of trade mark classes. Indeed, your trade mark classes determine the scope of your protection, so you must choose the correct ones.
For example, two businesses with the same or similar trade mark will be able to exist alongside one another if they operate in two different markets. This means that trade mark classes often serve as a mechanism for resolving trade mark disputes.
What Trade Mark Class Should I Use for an App?
The trade mark classes most relevant to your app will vary depending on several factors. When selecting the most appropriate trade mark classes, there are several questions you should ask yourself. For example:
- What does my app do?
- How does my app operate?
First, you should look at the purpose of your app. For example, your app may be educational. In that case, you would want to consider trade mark class 41 (educational services).
Similarly, if your app is a game or for entertainment purposes, class 41 also covers entertainment services. On the other hand, perhaps your app is used as a messaging tool, similar to Facebook or WhatsApp. In such an instance, trade mark class 38 (telecommunications services) may be most appropriate.
Regarding the development and distribution of your app, you may wish to consider trade mark class 9. This class is for goods in the computer and sciences categories. It then follows that to develop and maintain your app, you will need to trade mark the software development service. For this, you will need to consider trade mark class 42 (science and technology services).
How to Register a Trade Mark for Your App
To register a trade mark for your app, there are several key steps that you will need to undertake. Broadly, these steps include:
- designing or choosing your trade mark;
- checking your trade mark is available for registration; and
- applying for trade mark registration.
Selecting your trade mark classes is an essential consideration in each step, particularly steps two and three. For example, when checking if your trade mark is available for registration, you will need to focus on the classes you are considering for your trade mark. Further, when applying for trade mark registration, you will be required to select your classes definitively.
Other IP Protection
In addition to registering a trade mark for the branding elements of your app, you may be wondering if there are other forms of IP protection available to you. For instance, say your app is providing a completely original service. In that case, you may want to consider filing a patent, which will protect the mechanics of your app as it stands as an invention.
On the other hand, if your app is a game or has many artistic elements to it, copyright might be of interest to you. Copyright is an automatically granted type of IP that will protect your app’s code from the day of publication.
Combining other forms of IP protection (such as patents and copyright) with your trade mark protection is a great way to ensure your trade mark protection is comprehensive.
Registering a trade mark is one excellent way to have exclusive rights to your brand. For your app, branding may be the determining factor of its success. When determining the trade mark classes most appropriate for your app, you should primarily consider:
- what your app does; and
- how your app operates.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best trade mark classes for your app will depend on what your app does and how it operates. For example, you may wish to consider trade mark class 9 (computer and science goods) or trade mark class 42 (science and technology services). The purpose of your app will also impact the trade mark classes most appropriate for you.
Trade marks are a great way to protect your app’s brand by giving you exclusive rights to its use. Trade marks can prevent others from misusing your app branding and help make your app recognisable to customers. This can help your app get more downloads.