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If you file a trademark under the wrong class, what will happen?


Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

When filing a trademark, it is essential to select the right class. This guarantees that the trademark is properly defined and protected. This classification helps people determine what products or services are connected to the brand. It also makes it easy for the Office of Intellectual Property to handle applications and for people to understand what security they have. Not doing this may lead to bad things, like having your request turned down, having difficulty with the law, and the registration procedure taking longer than believed.

If a trademark application is sent in under the wrong class, it could be turned down, and the person who sent it might not be able to utilise the brand anymore. This could cause legal issues and make them more responsible to other businesses that want to register similar marks in that class.

How to Understand Trademark Classes?

The trademark classification method divides trademarks into classes based on the types of goods or services they represent. This method helps people determine their protection level and ensures that trademarks are listed correctly. The World Intellectual Property Organisation created the Nice Classification. It has 45 classes, each describing a different type of good or service.

Classes of Goods vs. Services

Trademarks are classified into two significant classes: goods and services. Goods groups include chemicals, paints, and medicines, while services groups include things like learning, fun, and healthcare services. Each class has special rules and regulations; picking a suitable class is essential for good security and registration.

Importance of Checking the Trademark Registration Class List

Checking the trademark filing class list is important to categorise your brand properly. This list is a thorough framework, categorizing a wide range of items and services into 45 different classes. Failing to check the class list can result in wrong classification, leading to application rejection, legal problems, and delays in the registration process. Contacting trademark experts and performing a full study to ensure accurate classification and effective brand protection is crucial.

Common Mistakes in Trademark Class Selection

Here are some prevalent errors to avoid when choosing trademark classes:

Picking Too Many or Too Few Classes

Some candidates can apply for their trademark in as many classes as possible to gain more security. However, this may give rise to unnecessary challenges, cancellations, and cases from other brand owners with earlier rights in those classes. It also boosts filing and preservation costs. On the other hand, filing in too few classes can limit security and leave you open to violation by others employing your trademark in different classes. You ought to carefully analyse your goods/services and pick the groups that most accurately represent them.

Picking the Wrong Classes

Another mistake is choosing classes that are inconsistent with your real goods or services. This might occur if you depend on the class titles or alphabetical listings given by the intellectual property office without checking each class’s full explanations and instances. For instance, publications such as magazines are in class 16, even if they contain science-related subjects, while educational services fall in class 41, even if they incorporate scientific devices. Always review the full-class specifications and make sure your goods/services have been included or similar.

Picking Overlapping or Conflicting Classes

Registering your trademark in groups that overlap or clash with other trademarks can cause customer confusion. This can lead to challenges, cancellations, and claims from other brand owners. Carefully study current marks to avoid conflicts.

In short, a set of keys are to:

  • Select only the groups truly important to your goods/services
  • Thoroughly study the entire class details, not just the names
  • Research to avoid clashes with current marks in the same classes

Consulting a trademark expert can help you create the right class choices to safeguard your brand successfully.

Consequences of Filing Under the Wrong Class

  • Application Rejection: Filing a trademark application under the wrong class can lead to instant rejection by the trademark office. This rejection means the applicant cannot use the name anymore, resulting in major legal and operational consequences.
  • Legal Troubles: Filing under the wrong class can result in legal consequences, including possible claims for incorrect classification. Moreover, it heightens liability towards other traders looking to register similar marks in that class, increasing the risk of legal battles.
  • Delays in the Registration Process: Misfiling a trademark can cause delays in the registration process, hurting the timeline for getting trademark rights. Correcting the mistake post-filing, especially after the advertising issue, requires additional steps to prolong the registration process.
  • Blocking Other Traders: Incorrectly filed trademarks can block other traders from registering their names in the same class, creating barriers to market entry. This blockage may cause resistance or cancellation of the trademark due to non-use or bad faith, complicating the registration environment.

Filing a trademark under the wrong class results in application refusal and legal risks, creating delays and competitive hurdles in the registration process. It is important to select the appropriate class carefully to avoid these harmful effects and ensure a smooth brand registration journey.

Amending Trademark Applications

Amending a trademark application is possible to fix clerical mistakes or make certain changes before registration. The most common way to change an application is by filing a Trademark Form-16 along with the needed fee and supporting papers. However, it’s important to remember that not all changes are allowed. Substantial changes to the application are not allowed and may require making a fresh application instead. Permissible changes include correcting proprietor details, modifying the goods/services specification, updating the applicant’s address or user data, and deleting items from the goods/services list.

In some cases, a change in the trademark class may be allowed at the registrar’s discretion, depending on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. For example, if the application for a change is filed after a significant delay, the registrar may reject it solely based on the delay. Consult with trademark experts to ensure that the desired changes meet with the laws and do not risk the filing process. Incorrect or excessive amendments can lead to delays and even application rejection.

How to Correct a Misclassification

To fix a misclassification in a trademark filing, the following steps can be taken:

  • File Trademark Form-16 along with the required fee and supporting documents to request an amendment before registration.
  • Clerical errors can be corrected through Form-16, but substantial changes are prohibited and may require making a new application.
  • Changes allowed include correcting proprietor information, changing goods/services specs, updating addresses, and removing items from the list.
  • A change in trademark class may be allowed at the registrar’s judgment based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

If the change is made after the examination report or advertisement, it will require a new examination and re-advertisement, respectively, further slowing the registration process.

Potential results of amendments include:

  • Application acceptance with the corrected classification
  • Rejection if the change is deemed substantial
  • Delays in registration if made after examination or advertisement
  • Notification to third parties who opposed the original application

Contact trademark experts to ensure the desired changes comply with laws and do not jeopardize the registration process.

Preventative Measures

Best Practices for Selecting the Correct Class

  • Risk Assessment: Conduct a full risk assessment to spot possible problems and decide the best class for your trademark application.
  • Classify Goods and Services: Ensure your goods and services are correctly grouped into the proper class. This includes identifying the exact things and services you offer and the class they fall under.
  • Consult Experts: Consult with trademark experts and legal professionals to ensure your class pick is correct and compliant with regulations.
  • Review Classifications: Review the classifications for your goods and services to ensure they are properly labelled and matched with your business goals.

Resources and Tools for Class Selection Guidance

  • Consult the trademark offices in your region for advice on class selection and classification.
  • Use trademark search tools to find existing trademarks and ensure your pick is unique and unlikely to cause confusion.
  • Refer to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other related groups for classification guides and instructions.
  • Consult legal resources and online platforms for class selection and brand registration advice.


Selecting the right trademark class is a crucial step in trademark registration. Failure to do so can result in rejection and legal problems. It is important to always check the trademark registration class list before filing to ensure that your property is properly categorized. If a mistake is made and the name is filed under the wrong class, it is possible to change the application or file a fresh one. However, it is suggested that trademark experts be spoken with to ensure an easy and effective filing process. By taking the necessary steps and getting professional advice, you can avoid common pitfalls and successfully register your trademark.

Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.