A trademark is a legally registered logo, word, or phrase that represents a company. If your company has an identifying mark such as a logo, you may want to protect it with a trademark. But where do you go to register a trademark?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approves all trademark applications in the U.S. The USPTO divides all trademarks into 45 different classes, each representing a different group of products or services. In this article, we will talk about trademark class 39 – shipping and travel services.
Why are there different trademark classes?
The USPTO breaks trademarks down into classes, not only for organizational purposes, but also to be able to approve more trademarks. If two trademark classes with the same name apply for a trademark, they can both obtain approval if they aren’t in the same class.
For example, Thrifty rental cars and Thrifty grocery stores can both be trademarked. They are not in the same class, so they are not in competition with each other. The products are not similar, so they won’t be confused when marketed to the public.
When your company applies for a trademark, they will have to state which class or classes they are in. You must be careful to categorize your company in the correct class, or your application may be rejected by the USPTO.
You may need to file under more than one class for your application to be correct. For instance, if you make cordage and then use that cordage to make belts, you will need to file under both class 22 (cordage and fibers) and class 25 (clothing).
Trademark class 39
Some trademark classes are used to identify products. Other trademark classes identify only services. There are no trademark classes that cover both products and services. Trademark class 39 is a service class that covers all travel and shipping services.
This has to do with the transport of people. Travel agencies that book seats on airplanes, trains, cars, buses, or any other type of transportation are in this class. This class also involves travel by boat (cruises), taxis, and streetcars, and ambulances. Wheelchair and bicycle rentals are in this class as well.
Travel services for vacationers
Services that arrange sightseeing tours for vacationers are in this class. Rental of navigation systems or map plotting services are in this category too.
Transport of goods
Transport of goods means the transport of anything from heavy cargo to the daily newspaper. Freight services by train, boat, or motor vehicle are in this class, as well as guarded transport of valuable goods, like armored trucks. Ferry boat transport and canal locks are here too, since they have to do with transport of goods. Other transport-related services in this category include:
- Furniture transport
- Removal of trash or goods
- Cargo loading and unloading services
- Aircraft engine rental
- Traffic information services
Delivery and courier services
All delivery of mail and packages are in class 39.
Storage and towing for vehicles
Companies that provide parking spots or parking garages for rent are in this class. Boat storage is in this category, too. Towing companies, whether they are towing cars, boats, or other motor vehicles, are in class 39 as well.
Rescue and recovery
Rescue operations, like ship salvage or diving suits and diving bells for rescue operations fall in this category. The refloating of ships (bringing sunken ships to the surface) is a service that is in this category too.
Pipeline and cables as a means of distribution
It’s not just people and cargo that are transported. Class 39 also includes the transport of energy, electricity, and water by pipes and cables. Any company that provides a pipeline for transport would register under class 39.
Related products that are not in class 39
Vehicle maintenance and repair services are not in class 39. Instead, they are under class 37 (construction and repair services).
Travel insurance or services that provide insurance that covers the transport of goods is in class 36 (Insurance and finance services).
If a travel agency also covers booking hotel rooms (or other rooms for rent), they may also have to file under class 43 (food services).
Traveler’s checks or credit specifically for travelers is related to class 39 but would fall under class 36 (insurance and finance services).
Class 39 covers travel services and transport of goods. It also involves the storage and rental of vehicles and vehicle-related things.
Filing under the correct class can be tricky since there are so many different classes. It’s important to file your trademark application under the correct class, so that the USPTO doesn’t reject it. Your product or service could include more than one class. If so, you may file under multiple classes, but you will have to pay the filing fee for each class.
An experienced trademark attorney can help you understand the trademark classes and choose the appropriate class. 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.