The U.S Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) recognizes 45 distinct “classes” of trademarks. Each class categorizes trademarks into the relevant field to which the product or service belongs.
Trademark Class 5 covers any and all trademarks relating to pharmaceutical, medical, and veterinary services.
What is a Class 5 Trademark?
First, let’s establish what a trademark is and why they’re important.
A trademark is essentially the identifying trait of a certain brand or product—usually represented by the logo or name. It’s what makes your brand recognizable.
For example, the Target bullseye, the silhouette apple of the esteemed tech company, or the Monster Energy “M” are all trademarks for those particular brands. They are visual indicators of certain products which tell the customer, “Yes this is made by ______.”
Under the international Nice classification system (which the USPTO uses to distinguish marks), classes 1 through 34 deals with products, while classes 35 through 45 pertain to services.
Class 5 specifically includes pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and veterinary products. While this is a broad category, we can list a few of the most common products covered by this trademark class below.
Hygiene Preparations and Articles
Class 5 covers hygiene and sanitary products, but not toiletries. Eye-washes, sexual lubricants, solutions for contact lenses, and sanitary towels all fall under this category.
This includes any kind of pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid meant to supplement your intake of ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.
The ingredient does not necessarily have to be essential to life. It may be an ingredient that has any marketed health benefits.
Food and Drink Used For Medical or Veterinary Purposes
This includes products such as baby food, medical chewing gum, and dietary supplements for animals.
Tobacco Free Cigarettes
This refers to “herbal” or “nicotine-free” cigarettes. These cigarettes contain herbal or other natural ingredients that are smoked for medical purposes.
This pertains to products such as air purifiers and deodorants for clothing. Deodorants included in this category would never be applied to humans or animals.
What’s Not Covered Under Class 5?
There are several items that aren’t actually covered by Trademark Class 5, despite their associations with the products listed above.
A few examples of these excluded products include things such as:
- Dietary supplements that are not used for medical or veterinary purposes.
- Deodorants that are distinctly for humans and animals.
- Supportive bandages.
- Toiletries for cleaning purposes.
Registering a Class 5 Trademark
Figuring out what class your product belongs in can be confusing. There are a number of other classes that class 5 products are often associated with.
For instance, Class 1 (chemicals), Class 3 (cleaning substances), or Class 35 (advertising and business services), etc. These classes are called “coordinated classes” because there’s often overlap in the products they cover.
For this reason, it’s important to know exactly which class your product belongs to. Registering in one class only provides trademark protection to products in that class.
Further, you may need to register in other coordinated classes depending on your product and the scope of your brand.
Providing a Specimen
In addition to just filing some paperwork, you will need to provide a specimen of your trademark in order to register it with the USPTO. A specimen is an example of your mark and how it will be used, i.e. how it will look on the label or packaging.
Most likely, a specimen for a Class 5 trademark will be a label or some kind of packaging.
What Does a Trademark Do?
People often use the terms trademark, copyright, and patent interchangeably. However, each of these terms has a particular legal definition.
Each protects a different kind of intellectual property. Copyrights, for example, protect artistic and literary works, and patents protect inventions.
Trademarks specifically protect the distinguishing traits of brands and logos.
For example, let’s say you have an invention you want to market—you would apply for a patent for the product itself. Then, you would register for a trademark for the logo or brand name that would be printed on labels, the company website, ads, etc.
The two main reasons you want to register for a trademark is marketing and security.
As you build your brand, your logo becomes more recognizable. People will associate the brand with the product, therefore, one good product can vouch for the overall quality of your brand.
If you don’t have your logo trademarked, third parties could profit off your hard work building your brand by using your logo.
Sometimes, there are exceptions for the use of a trademark that is not owned by the user. These exceptions are called “fair use.” Fair use protects the use of trademarks in instances such as reviews, comparing brands, identifying a brand, parody, etc.
There are two general types of fair use exceptions; descriptive and nominative fair use.
Descriptive use is for describing the trademark source’s product. Nominative use is for identifying the source.
For instance, if a news report is covering the unveiling of a new iPhone, they can refer to the company as “Apple.”
The Class 5 trademark covers many more products than those listed here. If you’re still unsure if your product falls under any of the class 5 categories, your best bet is to speak with a lawyer about your registration before applying.
They will be able to confirm your product’s class. They can also confirm if your trademark will infringe on an existing one.