Trademark Class 12: Vehicles

If you are running a business related to vehicles, then you may want to brush up on your class 12 trademark knowledge.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) oversees the registration of trademarks. They divide trademarks into 45 different classes, allowing businesses to register their trademark into a category most related to their product or service. This article will cover class 12 trademark goods.

Class 12 includes vehicles, devices, machines and apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water. It also includes motors and engines for land vehicles.

Registering a Class 12 Trademark

Are you starting a new business? Remember to register your intellectual properties associated with this business as a trademark. If it’s a distinctive name, slogan, symbol, service, good, or product, then it can be registered as a trademark.

By registering a trademark, you are legally preventing other businesses from imitating your brand. However, trademarks only apply to intellectual properties within the same class. Therefore, two companies with the same name can exist, as long as they aren’t registered within the same trademark class.

When you register, you’ll be asked which class your trademark falls under. Be sure to list any classes to which your good or service belongs. You can register your trademark here, though we recommend that you hire a lawyer to help you with the process.

What is a Class 12 Trademark?

The guidelines set out by the USPTO are intentionally broad. They state that by registering a trademark, your intellectual property relates to a good, and this good is intended for businesses and professionals.

Here are some examples of the types of goods covered by class 12:

Vehicles and Conveyances

This includes vehicles and conveyances for transportation via land, water, and air. This includes but is not limited to aerial conveyors, air cushion vehicles, chairlifts, golf carts, shopping carts, sleighs, wagons, and wheelbarrows. Sports cars, motor coaches, motorcycles, tractors, airplanes, parachutes and trailers are also included under this class.

Parts and Fittings for Vehicles

Transportation parts and accessories are also covered under this class. This includes but is not limited to anti-glare devices, axles, upholstery for vehicles, windows for vehicles, steering wheels, brake segments, turbines, and undercarriages. Hoods for baby carriages, head rests, headlights, windshield wipers, and automobile sun blinds are also covered by class 12.

Bicycle accessories such as bells, baskets, and lights are also under class 12.

Wheels, Tires, and Tracks

Wheels, tires, and tracks for vehicles on land, water, or air fall within this class. This includes bicycle tires, flanges for railway tires, railway tires, hub caps, inner tubes for bicycles, wheel rims, spokes for bicycles, and valves for vehicle tires.

Anti-theft, Security, and Safety Devices

If your business involves devices pertaining to security, safety, or preventing theft, and goes on or in a vehicle, then it most likely falls under this class. This includes but is not limited to air bags, anti-theft alarms, ejector seats, horns, reversing alarms, safety belts, and safety seats for children.

What is Not Covered Under Class 12?

class 12 trademark

Some products related to vehicles are not covered under class 12. If you are unsure of which class you should register your trademark under, you may want to consider these related classes as well:

  • Class 6 (Common Metals)
  • Class 7 (Machines)
  • Class 37 (Construction and Repair Services)

In addition, you won’t be able to get a trademark if there’s already a similar one registered under the same class. Luckily, you can search the USPTO database to find out if your potential trademark is already in use. It’s also a good idea to hire an attorney to perform a thorough trademark search and report the results to you.

The USPTO does not offer assistance, so hiring a lawyer before submitting your application is recommended.

What Does a Trademark Do?

If you fail to defend your trademark against infringement, then you could potentially lose it. It’s up to you as the trademark holder to file suit against people who create consumer confusion by using your mark, or a very similar mark in your industry.

In addition, holding a registered trademark can prevent “unfair competition,” a term that includes imitations, knock offs, and other forms of unauthorized selling. This term also includes malicious imitation.

Generally, there must be actual confusion to claim trademark infringement. However, if you don’t want to abandon your trademark, then you may want to still defend your trademark even in cases of minimal confusion. If you’re ever concerned about a likelihood of confusion, consult with a trademark attorney.

Fair Use

Certain types of trademark use are considered fair use, despite being unauthorized. This means that the other party is acting in a legal manner not likely to result in confusion of your trademark with theirs.

Claiming that one service is superior to another is an example of a fair use (“nominative use,” to be specific.) Likewise, parodies are usually fair use.

Conclusion

As with any new project, your best bet is to do as much research as possible before registering your trademark. Searching the USPTO’s database and hiring a lawyer to help will be incredibly helpful down the road.

Protecting against trademark infringement is a long, ongoing process. Filing the paperwork to renew your trademark is also an important thing to keep in mind. If  you don’t renew your trademark, then you will abandon it. Luckily, an experienced trademark lawyer can make it easier to protect your intellectual property at minimal cost.

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Our articles provide general information about all of our practice areas. If you're looking for legal counsel specific to your situation, you'll need to talk to a lawyer.

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