If you have an identifying mark or symbol for your company, you can protect it with a trademark. A trademark is a legally registered symbol, word, or phrase that identifies a company. If you trademark your company’s identifying marks, you can protect them from being used by anyone else. You apply for a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO divides trademarks into 45 different classes, each representing a different category of products or services provided. In this article, we will discuss trademark class 28 – games and sporting goods.
Why are there trademark classes?
First, the purpose of creating different trademark classes is for organization. Thousands of trademarks exist in the U.S., and companies submit more applications every day. The trademark classes allow the USPTO to organize the many trademarks into categories.
Second, the trademark classes allow different types of businesses to register under the same name, if they are in different classes and industries. For example, a company might file to trademark an energy bar called “Quest.” Then a travel agent called “Quest Travel” might file for a trademark as well.
The USPTO can approve both trademarks because they are not in the same class, and therefore are not in competition with each other. In the example above, the likelihood that consumers will be confused about who makes the product or provides the service is very low.
You will have to declare which class you are filing under when you fill out your application. You may file under two classes (for instance, if your company makes leather furniture and leather clothing), but you will have to pay the filing fee for each class.
Trademark Class 28
This trademark class refers to all games, sporting goods, gymnastic equipment, and Christmas decorations.
This is all the stuff an outdoorsman would use. Archery, fishing, surfing, skiing, and snowboarding equipment are included in this category, along with:
- Mountaineering equipment
- Track and field equipment (starting blocks, pole vaulting poles, discus and shot put)
- Cricket, baseball, tennis, and soccer, and hockey equipment (includes pads and gloves)
- Knee pads, elbow pads, shin guards, and men’s athletic supporters
- Hang gliders, sailboards, and masts
- Swimming equipment
Trademark class 28 also includes equipment for the indoor sports you see on ESPN on a slow sports day. This means all bowling, billiards, ping-pong, and weight lifting/exercise machines are in this category.
Toys and Games
“Toys and games” includes all the games your mom wanted you to play—and the ones that annoyed her. Board games like checkers and Monopoly are on this list, as well as all arcade and video games. Some of the other games in trademark class 28 are:
- Plush toys
- Remote controlled cars
- All dolls and toys
- Pet toys
- Pachinko and roulette wheels
This could be playground equipment that you would find in a backyard, or at the park. It also includes slides and games that you would ride at a county fair.
As with many trademark classes, class 28 includes some items that don’t seem to fit under the title.
All Christmas tree decorations are in trademark class 28, except anything illuminated or edible. This includes bells, candle holders, and artificial snow for Christmas trees. Artificial Christmas trees themselves are in class 28 as well.
Related items that are not in class 28
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your product or service is in a particular class. If you aren’t sure whether your trademark falls under class 28, consider these classes that are closely related:
- Diving equipment does not fall under sporting goods, according to the USPTO. Instead, it is in class 9 – computers and scientific devices.
- Lights and candles for Christmas trees are not in class 28. All candles are in class 4 – industrial oils, and Christmas lights are in class 11 – Appliances.
- All sports uniforms, bathing suits, and gymnastics leotards are included in class 25 – clothing
- Fishing nets are categorized in class 22 – ropes and textile products.
Providing a specimen for a class 28 product
When you apply for a trademark, the USPTO will ask you for a “specimen” of the mark. This means that they want to see your mark the way that the public will see it on a product or along with a service.
To provide a specimen, you must design and print your mark to show. Your mark could be on a label, a stamp, or imprinted on a product itself. If you can show the mark on an actual product, especially if that product has been marketed and sold already, you’re more likely to get approval for your trademark.
Trademark class 28 covers all sporting goods and game equipment, along with Christmas decorations and trees. As stated above, there are some items that seem like they should be included in class 28 but aren’t.
Be sure to get advice from an experienced trademark attorney before you apply for a trademark. That way you can be sure to file your trademark application under the correct class. If you don’t, the USPTO may reject your application. A lawyer can also make sure you are not using a trademark that is too similar to another company’s before you go through the application process.