Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trademark International Class: Classes 32 & 33 (Light beverages; Wines and spirits)

All goods or services are categorized within International Classes (IC hereafter). Goods run from classes IC 1-34, while Services are in IC 35-45. Please see a complete chart here. Let's take a closer look at a group of these trademark classes – classes 32 & 33.

What are International Classes 32 & 33 All About?


These 2 classes represent the beverage classifications for trademarks. Class 32 is light beverages and has
182 possible descriptions; class 33 is wines and spirits & has 129 possible descriptions.

Almost any non-alcoholic beverage is in IC 32 except beer, which is in IC 32. This class includes waters, juices, sodas as well as syrups and essences used in making non-alcoholic beverages.

IC 33 is going to be any type of liquor, wine or spirit. Also included are syrups and essences using in making alcoholic beverages.


Geographical Indications for Wines & Spirits


Wines and spirits get a special little section of their own in the
Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure and it's all about location, location, location. When a geographic name is used as part of a name for wine or spirits, the USPTO has all kinds of things to say about that. Let's break it down by what they say and what that means:

Geographical Indications Used on Wines and Spirits That Do Not Originate in the Named Place

"Geographical indications" are defined...as "indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin." ... Obscure areas or those that do not have a reputation or other characteristics generally associated with wines or spirits should not be prohibited from registration (emphasis added).


Clear as a bell, eh? Basically this means that USPTO will refuse a mark that contains a place name if (1) the place is known for that particular good (e.g. Champagne, France as cited in the refusal against Champagne from Spain AND (2) your goods do not originate from that place, as in the champagne example.

There is an exception and that's for obscure areas or for areas that don't necessarily have a reputation for wine or spirits, such as with
Tropical Liqueurs of Florida.

Geographical Indications Used on Wines and Spirits That Originate in the Named Place

This one's a bit easier to understand. Here's what the USPTO says:


"If the wines or spirits originate in the identified place, and the primary significance of the mark is a generally known geographic location, the examining attorney should presume the requisite goods/place association, and refuse the mark under §2(e)(2) as geographically descriptive, or require disclaimer of the geographic term, as appropriate."

This is talking about wines or spirits that do originate in a known geographic location and the above has a two-fold explanation.


First, if the ENTIRE mark is the name of the place, the USPTO will refuse it on the grounds that it's descriptive, as they did with
Shampagne. As you can see in this case, even an alternate spelling does not bypass the descriptive refusal.

Second, if a PORTION of the mark is the name of the place, the USTPO will require a disclaimer of that portion, as they did with
Bialla Napa Valley.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Retweet This

Last Thursday, Twitter filed a Federal trademark application for RETWEET for three different classes. Take a look at the record here.

What does this mean for the 4.9 million uses found online? Does this mean Twitter's going to start sending out please-stop-using-our-trademark-as-a-verb letters a la Google?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trademark International Class: Classes 29, 30 & 31
(Meats & processed foods; Staple Foods; Natural agricultural products)


All goods or services are categorized within International Classes (IC hereafter). Goods run from classes IC 1-34, while Services are in IC 35-45. Please see a complete chart here. Let's take a closer look at a group of these trademark classes – classes 29, 30 & 31.

What are International Classes 29, 30 & 31 All About?

These 3 classes represent the food classifications for trademarks. Class 29 is meats & processed foods and has 699 possible descriptions; class 30 is staple foods & has 900 possible descriptions; class 31 is natural agricultural products and has 345 possible descriptions.

Meats, poultry, seafood, game are, of course, going to be in IC 29. Also within that class are things like oils, frozen foods composed primarily of meat or fish, canned meats, fruits & vegetables. Nearly anything you'd find at the butcher or in most of the food aisles is going to be in IC 29.

IC 30 are for goods you find in your baking aisle and also includes things like coffee, tea, flavorings, noodles, breads, etc.

Most anything you find in the produce section is going to be in IC 31. Also included are things like fresh flowers and things that are alive be they animals or Christmas trees.

How do I file in International Classes 29, 30 or 31?

Filing in any of the food classes has the same process as any other name. First, comprehensive research is needed to ensure that the name is legally available. That research should entail looking at the ENTIRE of the food and beverage industry. There can be some crossover when it comes to the same or similar name within the entirety of the industry but each situation is different. Let's look at a couple of examples:

1) In 1948, Bluebird was filed for canned fruits and juices in IC 29

2) In 1972, Bluebird was filed for ham & pork in IC 29

3) Fast forward 20+ years when the USPTO was a lot stricter and you'll find that Bluebird was still able to be registered for snack cakes in IC 30.

This does NOT mean that same or similar names can be trademarked all over the food & beverage industry. Again, like with anything trademark related, it's taken on a case by case basis.

For example, Jack Daniel's has attempted to oppose numerous filings food products using either the name Jack or Daniel. Sometimes they succeed as they did with Whiskey Jack and sometimes they don't such as with Doc Jack's.

As you can see, filing a name or logo within the food and beverage industry can be complex so be sure to get the proper help first.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Trademark International Class: Class 28 (Toys and sporting goods)



All goods or services are categorized within International Classes (IC hereafter). Goods run from classes IC 1-34, while Services are in IC 35-45. Please see a complete chart here. Let's take a closer look at one of these trademark classes – class 28.

What is International Class 28 All About?

Each class has a short title heading that gives a snapshot of what that class is all about -- IC 28's short title is toys and sporting goods. But, as with anything trademark, there's more to it than that. The USPTO has 1317 accepted descriptions that fit into IC 28; check them out here.

This class is fairly straightforward -- essentially almost any tangible item that's used in play or as part of a sport is going to be living here. This includes things like balls, bats, paddles, rackets, nets, poles, boards, pucks, sticks, clubs and on and on. Bags for specific sports are in this class, while all-purpose sporting bags are in IC 18.

Almost (emphasis on this word) any toy you can think of is going to be in this class. There are some exceptions for different products that you'd think would fall into this class - video games are in IC 9 but hand held and stand alone video games machines are in IC 28; arts and craft kits are in IC 16; costumes are in IC 25 while masks are in IC 28.

What Else is in International Class 28?

Seems like with any of these trademark classes, there always seems to be the oddball item or two and IC 28 is no exception. Here are a few items living in IC 28 that seem a bit weird:

• aquatic canine treadmill
• Christmas tree ornaments, decorations and stands
• confetti
• lottery cards and tickets

What's New for International Class 28?

The classification guide is constantly being updated with new goods or services. As the marketplace changes, the trademark office must adapt. Here are some of the 2009 listings for international class 28, good plus date added to the guide:

• Amusement devices, namely, bounce houses in the nature of an air inflated cushion in an air inflated structure 23 Apr 09
• Arm bands for designating team member positions in sports activities 30 Apr 09
• Educational toys in the nature of an illustrated wall map 08 Jan 09
• Game equipment set sold as a unit comprised primarily of a playing board and playing cards and also including rules of play, dry erase boards and erasers, markers, a timer and T-shirts 25 Jun 09

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Gonna Keep Going


Looking over the blog's stats I can tell that all the different international classification posts have been fairly popular. Given that, I'm going to keep on keeping on.

I wanted to give my readers a quick summary of the different classes I'll cover as well as any respective issues.

If you see something missing or you have a question (or five) about classes, please comment below & I'll be sure to post about it.


Left off at IC 25, clothing -- any other questions or issues not yet resolved for anyone?

Will write posts about:
IC 28
ICs 29, 30, 31
ICs 32, 33
- geographically deceptively misdescriptive marks (say that three times fast)


Then it'll be time to move on to Services and I'm thinking it'd be a good idea to write a post for each class, from IC 35 to IC 45. As I go along, I'll address any other side issues that seem to come up when talking about these classes. Of course, feel free to ask questions galore in the comments section.

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