To thoroughly carry out the Opinions of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Vigorously Advancing the Reform in Facilitation of Trademark Registration and provide more convenience to the applicant in filling in the classes and names of goods and services in a trademark registration application, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce promulgated the Filing Guide for Goods and Services Used for Trademark Registration (the “Guide”) on January 2, 2018. The Guide is highlighted below:
1. The classification of goods and services follows the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (i.e., the “Nice Classification”). Currently, goods and services are categorized into 45 classes under the Nice Classification, with Class 1 through Class 34 for goods and Class 35 through Class 45 for services. The Trademark Office formulated the Classification Table for Similar Goods and Services (the “Classification Table”) by delineating similar classes of goods and services under the Nice Classification and by adding common goods and services in China based on actual circumstances for use by applicants in applying for trademark registration. Both the Nice Classification and the Classification Table are amended and adjusted annually. When applying for trademark registration, an applicant shall make the filing based on the version effective at the time of application.
2. Applicants are first required to make a filing based on the Nice Classification. Secondly, when the goods and services applied for are not found in the Classification Table, an applicant shall look to the class titles and annotations and file for the appropriate class based on the standard names. If classification is not possible according to class titles, annotations or standard names, the filing shall be made based on classification principles.
3. The classification principles under the Nice Classification and the Classification Table primarily examine the functions, applications or raw materials of goods for the purpose of classification. If the goods are finished goods (featuring a combination of multiple functions), they are basically classified based on their (primary) functions or applications. If the goods are made up of (multiple types of) raw materials, unprocessed or semi-finished, they are in principle classified based on their constituting (main) raw materials. If the goods are part of another product and cannot be used for other purposes under normal circumstances, the goods are basically placed in the same class as their constituting product. Containers used exclusively for holding goods are generally also put in the same class as the goods. With respect to the classification principles for services, general determination is made by considering factors such as the standard names listed in the Classification Table, the industry the service is affiliated with, and the purposes, specifics, manners and targets of the service. Rental services, consultation services and franchise services are in general classified under the same classes as the services they realize or pertain to.
4. When applying for trademark registration, an applicant shall first consider the use of standard names listed in the Classification Table. To the extent that the tabulated requirements are met, it is also possible to use the acceptable names of goods and services outside the Classification Table as released by the Trademark Office.
5. When filing goods and service names, an applicant shall be specially mindful if the circumstances enumerated below are involved, including: Generic terms, descriptive terms, transliteration into Chinese from foreign languages, foreign alphabets, place names, the use of “manufactured goods” or “products” as key terms, the use of “and/or,” ethnic or religious terms, names with stronger regional attributes, names of dishes and punctuation rules. The goods or service names as filed shall not include two or more (classes of) goods or services.