To legally register your company’s logo, design, or phrase, you can apply for a trademark. A trademark protects your company’s identifying marks so that no one else can use them. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approves trademark applications. The USPTO breaks down trademark applications into 45 different classes. Each class represents a different group of products or services. This article will address trademark class 18.
Why Are There Trademark Classes?
Companies submit new trademark applications every day. These applications are in addition to the thousands of trademarks that already exist. The classes organize the trademarks into groups.
One of the purposes of trademark law is to avoid consumer confusion.
Trademark classes allow for more than one company to trademark the same company name, as long as they are filing under different classes, which means they are probably operating in different industries.
The USPTO can approve both trademarks because they aren’t in the same class, and they won’t create consumer confusion because they won’t be in competition with each other.
The Class 18 Trademark
Class 18 has to do with leather goods and imitation leather goods. This includes anything made of leather, or made to look like leather, as long as the item is not in another class. Although trademark class 18’s description is “leather goods,” there are many items in this class that are not made of leather.
Leather and non-leather luggage
Any suitcases or bags are in class 18. This includes any leather or imitation leather purses, sports bags, briefcases, attaché cases, slings or tool bags. Garment bags are included here too.
Wallets, card holders and billfolds are also in this category.
Pelts, hides and fur
Chamois skins, curried skins, furs, moleskin, and strips of leather for braiding, trim, or straps are in trademark class 18. Fake fur products are in this category too.
Leather animal supplies and whips
This category includes leather items for pets and other animals, including
- Saddles, bridles, and blinders
Non-leather items for horses and other animal purposes are also in this class.
- Horse blankets
- Saddle pads
- Bitter training spray
Other items in trademark class 18
As with many trademark classes, class 18 includes some items that don’t seem to fit under the title. Here are some of those items:
- Umbrellas and parasols – the umbrella and all parts of the umbrella (ribs, handle, and rings).
- Canes and walking sticks – the handle and the seat (if there is one) of the walking stick and cane are in class 18, as well as the stick itself.
- Sausage casings – the gut that encases a sausage, even if it’s not a real intestine, is in this category.
Related Products That Are Not in Class 18
Sometimes there is a product that is hard to pin down. If you’re not sure if your product belongs in trademark class 18, consider these classes that are closely related:
- Class 25 – Clothing and apparel: If the leather item is an article of clothing, it is not in class 18. Class 25 includes anything you wear, even headgear and shoes.
- Class 22 – Ropes, cordage and fiber products: this class is for string and rope not made of leather.
- Class 23 – Yarns and threads: again, this only includes non-leather thread or string.
- Class 29 – Meat and processed food products: although trademark class 18 includes the casings for sausage, class 29 covers all edible meat, eggs, and milk products.
- Class 34 – Smoker’s products: Leather and cigars seem to go together. The leather cigar case would be in class 18, but the cigars themselves (along with cigarettes and matches) belong in class 34.
- Class 24 – Fabrics: While fake fur is in class 18, fabrics that look like animal skin (but aren’t real) are in class 24 – fabrics.
- Class 3 – Cosmetics and cleaning products: Moleskin and chamois are in class 18 ONLY if they are not intended for cleaning use. If an item is meant for cleaning, it will be in class 3 – cleaning products.
Class 18 is a trademark class that covers much more than its label suggests. Its title is “leather goods,” and indeed all leather products (except clothing) are in that class. But along with leather products, all bags, cases, and wallets are in class 18 as well, regardless of what they are made of.
Other animal products such as pelts and fur are in class 18 too, even if the fur is fake. Finally, seemingly unrelated items such as walking sticks, umbrellas, and sausage casings are in class 18.
If your product or service covers more than one class, you may file under multiple classes, but you will have to pay the filing fee for each class.
It’s a good idea to get advice from an experienced trademark attorney before you apply for a trademark. The USPTO rejects trademark applications due to incorrect information or filing. A lawyer can make sure you are filing under the correct class and can search the database to see if there are any other marks in that class that are similar to yours.