Trademark class 33 is one of the 45 trademark classes that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has created to organize trademarks by industry. Trademarks protect a company’s identifying logo, word or phrase so that no other company can use it. When your business applies for a trademark, the USPTO will ask your to place your trademark in one of the 45 trademark classes. Each class represents a different group of products or services.
What Are Trademark Classes For?
The USPTO gets new trademark applications every day. Classifying the trademarks into different categories helps to organize literally thousands of trademarks. The classes also help the USPTO to be able to approve more trademark names. If two companies with the same name apply for a trademark, the USPTO can approve both trademarks if they are in different classes. An example is Quest protein bars and Quest travel agency. These companies are not in the same class or industry; therefore, they are not in competition with each other. As a result, they can both trademark the name “Quest.”
There is a class in existence for your product already – you just have to figure out which class it is. When you apply for a trademark, the USPTO will ask you to fit your trademark in an existing class. If you don’t choose the correct class, your application may be rejected or you may not get the trademark protection your brand needs.
Trademark Class 33
Trademark class 33 covers all alcoholic beverages except beer. Some examples of this trademark class are Grey Goose Vodka, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Yellow Tail wine, and Grand Marnier liqueur.
All brands of alcoholic wine fall in trademark class 33. This includes all red and white wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines, and fruit wines – like peach and blackberry wine. Some of the most well-known wine trademarks are Barefoot, Sutter Home, Franzia, and Woodbridge.
Rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila, gin, and brandy are all in this category. Rice alcohol and sake are in this class as well. All flavored liqueurs are here too, like peppermint and peach schnapps.
Alcoholic ingredients for cocktails
Ingredients for mixed drinks are also in this class, as long as they also contain alcohol. Bitters, aperitifs, and alcoholic fruit extracts are in this group.
Pre-mixed alcoholic beverages
Ready-to-drink mixed alcoholic beverages are in class 33. Examples of this category are hard lemonades, wine coolers, and pre-mixed margaritas and sangria.
Related Products That Are Not in Class 33
Beer is the most confusing product on the non-related list. Although it contains alcohol, beer is not included in class 33. Instead, the USPTO places all beer in trademark class 32 – water and non-alcoholic beverages.
Mixers to put in alcoholic drinks, like margarita mix, tonic water, and lime juice do not contain alcohol. For this reason, they are also in class 32 – water and non-alcoholic beverages.
Medicinal drinks or medicinal (rubbing) alcohol are in class 5 – pharmaceuticals
Overseas Trademarks for Alcoholic Beverages
Since many wine and spirits companies are not U.S. based, this is a good place to mention trademark applications for foreign companies. A company based outside the U.S. can apply for a U.S. trademark in one of two ways:
- They may apply directly with the USPTO for a trademark.
- They may apply in their home country under the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol was established in 1996 to allow companies to get a trademark in multiple countries (including the U.S.) with one application and one lawyer.
The choice seems like a no-brainer since the Madrid Protocol allows a company to get approved in a bunch of countries at once. However, the USPTO is notorious for having the most stringent requirements of all trademark organizations, and their 45 classes are very specific. The USPTO tends to reject applications sent from overseas, since they are often worded too broadly, or incorrectly. So, an application that is approved by the home country may be rejected by the USPTO. Many foreign companies who want a U.S. trademark opt to apply directly with the USPTO to avoid the headache of a rejection.
Trademark class 33 includes all alcoholic beverages, but not beer or non-alcoholic mixers.
When you file for a trademark with the USPTO, you must be sure that your application is correct. The USPTO will reject your application if you file under the wrong class. You can file under more than one class (for example, if you sell liquor and non-alcoholic mixers), but you must pay a fee for each class.
If your company is in a foreign country and wants to apply for a trademark in the U.S., it is wise to hire a U.S. trademark attorney to walk you through the application process. An experienced trademark attorney will help you choose the correct class for your product or service and will help keep the selective USPTO from rejecting your application.