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A Guide to the Food-Related Trade Mark Classes NZ 

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In the world of trade marks, goods and services are separated into different classes. This system streamlines the registration process. The system also facilitates specificity regarding what you plan to use your trade mark for. As such, it is important you understand the relevant trade mark classes. This includes those operating in the food industry. New Zealand (NZ) trade mark classes 29 to 31 cover a variety of food-related goods. This article offers a guide to trade mark classes 29 to 31.

What Are Trade Mark Classes? 

To start, it is important to understand the purpose and importance of trade mark classes. Trade mark classes are the categories used to identify goods and services for the purpose of trade mark registration. The widely used Nice classification system helps to streamline the registration process. Under the Nice classification system, goods and services are organised into categories based on their function. For example, classes 29 to 31 focus on food-related goods.

Importantly, you must remember that registering a trade mark in one class does not automatically grant you the exclusive right to that mark across all goods or services. Your exclusive right only applies to the trade mark classes that you have selected. As such, you must register your mark under all the relevant classes.

However, there are often overlaps between these classes. Realistically, your goods will fall under more than one trade mark class. For example, say your business produced yoghurt.  Yoghurt could be classified under both class 29 (milk products) and class 30 (dairy-based desserts).

Trade Mark Class 29 Inclusions

Trade mark class 29 covers food items derived from animals or plants. This class covers goods which humans can safely consume.

An example of some goods in trade mark class 29 include:

CategoryExamples
Meat, Fish, Poultry, and GameBeef, chicken, fish fillets, game meats
Meat ExtractsMilk, cream, butter, cheese, yoghurt, milk-based products
Preserved, Dried, and Cooked Fruits and VegetablesCanned fruits, dried fruits, pickled vegetables, cooked vegetables
Jellies, Jams, CompotesFruit jellies, jams, marmalades, fruit compotes
EggsFresh eggs, egg whites, egg yolks, liquid egg products
Milk and Milk ProductsMilk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, milk-based products
Edible Oils and FatsVegetable oils, olive oil, butter, margarine

Crucially, you must note that despite containing ingredients from class 29, foods with an alternative predominant component will be under an alternative class. For example, pastries, pasta and pizza will be placed in trade mark class 30. This is despite their filling or toppings being made from components under class 29.

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Trade Mark Class 30 Inclusions

Trade mark class 30 consists of plant-based products intended for human consumption. However, it does not encompass processed fruits or vegetables, which fall under trade mark class 29. 

An example of some of the goods that are included in trade mark class 30 are as follows:

CategoryExamples
Coffee, Tea, CocoaCoffee beans, ground coffee, tea leaves, cocoa beans, cocoa powder
Sugar, Rice, Tapioca, SagoSugar, brown sugar, white rice, brown rice, tapioca pearls, sago grains
Artificial CoffeeCoffee substitutes, coffee alternatives made from grains or chicory
Flour and Preparations Made from CerealsVarious types of flour, cereal-based preparations, breakfast cereals, cereal bars
Bread, Pastry, and ConfectioneryBread, pastries, cakes, cookies, biscuits, chocolates, candies
IcesIce cream, sorbet, frozen desserts
Honey, TreacleHoney, treacle
Yeast, Baking PowderYeast, baking powder
Salt, MustardSalt, mustard
Vinegar, Sauces (Condiments), SpicesVinegar, condiments, sauces, spices, seasonings
IceIce cubes, packaged ice for consumption

Trade Mark Class 31 Inclusions

Trade mark class 31 includes agricultural products not intended for human consumption. This includes live animals, certain plants and food for animal consumption. For example, unprocessed grains, seeds, and raw cereals are classified in trade mark class 31. However, natural flowers or forestry products that undergo further processing (such as timber) come under class 19.

An example of some of the goods included in trade mark class 31 is outlined in the table below:

CategoryDescription
Agricultural, Horticultural, and Forestry ProductsRaw agricultural produce like grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and forestry items.
Live AnimalsAnimals raised for food production or agricultural purposes.
Fresh Fruits and VegetablesUnprocessed, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Seeds, Natural Plants, and FlowersSeeds suitable for planting, live plants, flowers, and nursery items.
Foodstuffs for AnimalsFood for animals, including animal feed, pet food, and dietary supplements for livestock and pets.
MaltGrains that have been malted, used in brewing and food processing.

Why Do These Trade Mark Classes Matter for Food Businesses?

Trade mark classes 29-31 are important for your food businesses. There are numerous benefits to registering a trade mark in these classes for your food business. These include: 

  • protecting your brand’s identity; 
  • preventing your competitors from using similar marks on related goods; and
  • protecting the integrity of your brand. 

By obtaining a trade mark for your food business, you may also communicate to your customers that your goods reflect certain quality standards. This, in turn, can enhance consumers’ trust in your brand. 

Additionally, if your food business has a registered trade mark, you can expand your product line. Importantly, you can do so without risk to your business’s reputation. Further, should your trade mark be infringed, you have legal grounds to enforce your rights. 

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Key Takeaways

If you run a food business, it is important that you understand the various trade mark classes for food-related products. Some important trade mark classes you should be aware of include: 

  • trade mark class 29, which covers food items derived from animals or plants for human consumption;
  • trade mark class 30, which covers plant-based products intended for human consumption; and
  • trade mark class 31, which covers agricultural products that are not intended for human consumption.

If you need help choosing the right trade mark class for your food business’s products, contact our experienced trade mark lawyers as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

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Emily Young

Emily Young

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