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A Guide to Trade Mark Class 25 NZ

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When applying for a trade mark, it can be difficult to select the most relevant class for your good or service. Like many other countries, New Zealand recognises the Nice trade mark classification system, so it is important to have a good understanding of how it operates. This article will explain what you need to know about trade mark class 25, specifically for your New Zealand trade mark application.

What is the Trade Mark Classification System?

The most widely used classification system for trade marks is the Nice Classification, which is maintained by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It is used by many countries worldwide, including New Zealand. Under this system, goods and services are broken down into 45 classes. Classes 1 to 34 are associated with goods, and the remaining classes are designated for services. 

You can register trade marks within the class or classes related to the goods or services they cover. This helps to streamline the registration process and ensures consistency in the registration procedures. 

However, the primary purpose of trade mark classes is to determine the scope of protection. Because each class covers a unique category of goods or services, trade marks that are similar but belong to different classes are generally allowed to be registered. For example, the trade mark “Apple” for electronic devices in Class 9 does not prevent the registration of the same mark for apples in Class 31 because the goods are unrelated.

What is Trade Mark Class 25?

Trade mark class 25 covers clothing, footwear and headgear used for ‘regular’ wear (including sporting activities). If your trade mark is associated with any type of wearable item, it likely falls within class 25. 

An example of some of the goods that will fall within class 25 is outlined in the table below.

Trousers, e.g. jeans
HeadgearBaseball caps
Bucket hats

It is worth noting that goods made for more specific purposes will fall under different classes. For example, surgical attire falls under class 10 rather than class 25.  

Further, certain clothing components (such as clasps, buckles and zippers) fall within class 26 instead. Thus, you should carefully consider the purpose of your product and evaluate it against other possible classes before selecting class 25. 

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Why Register Your Trade Mark?

Registering your trade mark under class 25 has numerous benefits. Some of these benefits are:

  • Legal protection: Registering your trade mark under class 25 means you have the exclusive right to use that mark for clothing, footwear and headgear goods. This helps prevent other parties from using a mark like yours for similar goods. In turn, this minimises the risk of infringement and protects your brand identity and reputation.
  • Brand recognition: A registered trade mark enhances brand recognition and distinguishes your goods from competitors in the market. Consumers are more inclined to trust a mark that they recognise.
  • Expansion: Registering your mark can lead to opportunities for market expansion. This enables you to build a presence in your industry and consider international retailers and wholesalers.
  • Legal rights: Trade mark registration provides a mechanism to enforce your rights against infringement. With a registered trade mark, you can take legal action against the unauthorised use of your mark on clothing, footwear and headgear. This protects your brand’s reputation and the value of your business overall.

What Should I Avoid When Choosing Classes?

Selecting the right class is essential in the trade mark registration process. This is because it directly correlates to your scope of protection. Some  common trade mark classification errors include:

  1. Choosing the wrong class: You must correctly align the class with the good or service your mark represents to ensure it receives proper protection. Further, you may increase the risk of your application being rejected if you choose the wrong class. 
  2. Selecting too many classes: Choosing an excessive number of classes can increase the likelihood your application is rejected. The trade mark examiner will assess your application for identical or similar marks within your selected classes. Choosing irrelevant classes means that more existing trade marks will be compared to your own, complicating this process and potentially leading to refusal.
  3. Choosing too few classes: On the other hand, selecting too few trade mark classes comes with its own set of challenges. A lack of coverage will leave gaps in your protection, leaving your brand vulnerable to infringement or exploitation by competitors.
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Key Takeaways

New Zealand recognises the Nice trade mark classification system. This system helps to streamline the registration process and ensures consistency in the registration procedures. Trade mark class 25 is one class under this system, covering:

  • clothing; 
  • footwear; and 
  • headgear.

When choosing classes, ensure that you evaluate whether your product may be better suited to a different class before selecting class 25. If you need assistance choosing the right class for your trade mark application, our experienced trade mark lawyers can assist 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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