Building a business is hard work. In order to protect what you have built, you might be considering registering a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). When you fill out your application, you will need to know what international trademark class best fits the good or service you provide. There are 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services. If you are uncertain which class or classes to use in your application, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney for help.
This article will cover international trademark class 31 protections. Class 31 protects natural agricultural products.
What Is a Trademark?
Building a brand is a crucial part of establishing your business. A trademark is an image, slogan, logo, phrase, etc. that you can use as a branding tool. Not only does a trademark establish you as the original source of your product, it also sets you apart from your competition. When your customer engages with the marketplace, a trademark will help them recognize your product and the reputation you have built.
Registering a Class 31 Trademark
Registering a trademark protects you from infringement that is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace. If you want to register a class 31 trademark, it might be similar to a mark registered under another class. As long as the consumer is not likely to mistake your good or service with another similar product because of similar trademarks, you run a low risk of infringement.
Both hiring an attorney and conducting research on the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) are good ways to make sure you are not infringing on the rights of another party. Also remember that even abandoned, dead, or inactive trademarks often still retain common law rights even though they no longer have the benefits of being registered with the USPTO.
What Is a Class 31 Trademark?
Class 31 includes natural agriculture products. Broadly, this class includes various plant products; fresh fruits, vegetables and other produce; live animals and livestock; and some miscellaneous agricultural equipment and other related items.
There are a lot of plant products that aren’t the fruits and vegetables you see in the grocery. Many of these items are a part of trademark class 31.
These plant products include: unprocessed algae and seaweed for human or animal consumption, algarovilla for animal consumption, aloe vera plants, bagasses of cane, raw barks, barley, bran, bran mash for animal consumption, unprocessed buckwheat, unprocessed cereal seeds, Christmas trees, raw cocoa beans, copra, flower bulbs, natural flowers, dried flowers for decoration, groats for poultry, hay, hops, linseed and flax seed meal for animal consumption, unprocessed edible linseed and flax seed, raw locust beans, maize, maize cake for cattle, malt for brewing and distilling, fish meal for animal consumption, flax meal, fodder, cattle food, forage, mushroom spawn for propagation, nettles, oats, palm trees, palms, pine cones, plants, dried plants for decoration, pollen, unprocessed quinoa, unprocessed rice, rose bushes, rye, seed germ for botanical purposes, seedlings, seeds for planting, shrubs and bushes, sugarcane, trees, trunks of trees, turf and sod, undressed timber unsawn timber, vine plants, wheat, and natural flower wreaths.
Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Produce
Fresh fruit, vegetables, and other produce along with the plant product previously mentioned fall under class 31.
These items include: almonds, arrangements of fresh fruit, artichokes, beans, beets, berries, fresh chicory, chicory roots, fresh chestnuts, citrus fruit, coconuts and their shells, cucumbers, fruit, herbs, garlic, grapes, cereal grains, grains for animal consumption, hazelnuts, juniper berries, kola nuts, leeks, lemons, lentils, fresh lettuce, mushrooms, nuts, onions, fresh lives, oranges, peanuts, peas, peppers, potatoes, rhubarb, unprocessed edible sesame, spinach, squashes, truffles, husked or unhusked unprocessed sweet corn ears, vegetable marrow, and vegetables.
Live Animals and Livestock
Livestock and some other live animals are also considered natural agricultural products.
The live animals and livestock in trademark class 31 include: anchovies, bred stock, crayfish, crustaceans, fertilized eggs for hatching, fish spawn, fish, live fishing bait, herrings, edible insects, koi carp, lobsters, menagerie animals, mussels, oysters, poultry, salmon, sardines, sea-cucumbers, silkworms and their eggs, shellfish, spiny lobsters, and tuna
Agricultural Equipment and Items
Some other agricultural products in this class include: animal foodstuffs, animal and livestock fattening preparations, aromatic sand for pets, beverages for pets, bird food, by-products of the processing of cereals for animal consumption, edible chews for animals, cuttle bone for birds, distillery waste for animal consumption, dog biscuits, draff, preparations for egg laying poultry, fruit residue or marc, hop cones, lime for animal forage, litter for animals, litter peat, oil cake, cattle cake, peanut cake and meal for animals, pet food, rape cake for cattle, residue in a still after distillation, roots for animal consumption, rice meal for forage, rough cork, salt for cattle, sanded paper for pets, straw mulch, straw litter, straw, strengthening animal forage, wheat germ for animal consumption, wood chips for the manufacture of wood pulp, and yeast for animal consumption
There are some classes that are similar to trademark class 31, but have some small differences. Class 29 includes meat, poultry and game, and fish, as well as cooked fruits and vegetables. Although class 31 includes live animals and fresh fruits and vegetables, it does not include meats and processed foods. Similarly, class 30 includes cocoa, sugar, rice, and other staple foods that may fall under class 31 when they are unprocessed.
What Is Not Covered Under Trademark Class 31?
The World Intellectual Property Organization notes some items that are specifically not included in class 31. These items include:
- Cultures of micro-organism and leeches for medical purposes (Cl. 5)
- Dietary supplements for animals and medicated animal feed (Cl. 5)
- Semi-worked woods (Cl. 19)
- Artificial fishing bait (Cl. 28)
- Rice (Cl. 30)
- Tobacco (Cl. 34)
Registering a trademark is a great way to protect your brand and your business. When you register, the application will ask for the international trademark class that best fits what you are selling. If you produce natural agricultural goods, your trademark will most likely fall under trademark class 31. Remember, if you aren’t sure about something on your application, an attorney can help you.