Trademark Class 38: Telecommunications Services

Choose Class 38 if you are registering a trademark for telecommunication, television and related services

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Class 38 includes telecommunication services. Class 38 includes mainly services allowing at least one person to communicate with another by a sensory means. Such services include those which: (1) allow one person to talk to another, (2). transmit messages from one person to another, and (3) place a person in oral or visual communication with another (radio and television). This Class includes, in particular services which consist essentially of the diffusion of radio or television programs. Class 38 is one of 45 classes used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) when grouping products or services. For a complete listing of all goods in Class 38, see below.

Examples of trademarks in Class 38 include:

TV JAPAN (broadcast of television programs), DOGPILE (computer telecommunications services), NEON (cable TV broadcasting services).

You would NOT use Class 38 if you were registering:

Related (Coordinated) Classes

If you are not sure whether you should register in Class 38, you might also consider the following “coordinated” classes: Business Services, Class 36 - Insurance and Finance Services, Class 37 - Construction and Repair Services, , Class 39 - Shipping and Travel Services, Class 40 - Material Treatment Services, Class 41 - Education and Entertainment Services, Class 42 - Science and Technology Services, Class 43 - Food Services, Class 44 - Medical and Vet Services, Class 45 - Legal and Security Services. A coordinated class is one that is related to another class, usually because the USPTO has determined that applicants filing within Class 38 often file in the coordinated classes, too.

Why use the class system? Trademark registration is based on a class system. For each class of goods or services that you register, you must pay a separate registration fee. So if you apply for a trademark for posters (Class 16) and shirts (Class 25), you must pay two fees. You must indicate the correct class at the time you are registering a trademark. If you list the incorrect class, you must start the application process over. Your registrations are restricted to those classes that encompass the goods or services you are already offering (as shown by the specimens you submit) or that you plan to offer (if you are registering on an intent-to-use basis). You may also need information about the class number in order to narrow a search of the USPTO’s trademark database.

Specimens for Class 38

A specimen for service must show use of the mark in a manner that would be perceived by potential purchasers as identifying the applicant's services and indicating their source. Where the mark is used in advertising the services, the specimen must show an association between the mark and the services for which registration is sought. A specimen that shows only the mark, with no reference to the services, does not show service mark usage.

When you are offering a service, you have no product to which you can affix a label. Acceptable specimens for services include a variety of materials that can’t be used for product marks. This includes scanned copies of advertising and marketing materials, such as newspaper and magazine ads, brochures, billboards, direct mail pieces, and menus (for restaurants).

Letterhead stationery and business cards showing the mark may be used if the services are plainly reflected on them, because the name or symbol being claimed as a mark would, in that context, be used to identify the services provided—that is, as a mark rather than as a trade name. A letter on stationery will even be accepted as a specimen for a service mark if the mark appears and the services are described in the letter.

Internet. In cases of services rendered over the Internet, a screen shot of the full web page should be fine. If the mark is being prominently displayed on the home page, so much the better.

The following are unacceptable specimens for marks for Class 38 services:

  • news releases or articles based on news releases,
  • documents showing trademark rather than service mark usage (use of the mark in connection with goods rather than services),
  • invoices and similar documents such as packing slips,
  • letterhead or business cards that bear only the mark and a company name and address are not adequate specimens (use of the mark to identify a company, such as on letterhead). As discussed earlier, one exception to this is if the letterhead or the text of the letter identifies the services represented by the mark.

Audio. Most marks appear in writing somewhere. If your mark represents a service, and it appears only on radio ads or in some other audio form, you may submit a sound file of the audio.

For More Information on Trademarks and Federal Registration

See Nolo’s Trademark Center or consider Nolo’s Online Trademark Application

Complete Listing of All Goods in Class 38 Based on Taxonomy

  • Telecommunication services, communications by telegrams, information about telecommunication, message sending, news agencies/wire service, satellite transmission, telecommunications routing and junction services, telegraph services, telex services, transmission of telegrams.
  • Broadcasting services, cable television broadcasting, providing telecommunication channels for teleshopping services, radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, wireless broadcasting.
  • Telephone and mobile telephone services, cellular telephone communication, communications by telephone, facsimile transmission, paging services [radio, telephone or other means of electronic communication], teleconferencing services, telephone services, voice mail services.
  • Computer communication and Internet access, communications by computer terminals, communications by fiber [fiber] optic networks, computer aided transmission of messages and images, electronic mail, electronic bulletin board services [telecommunications services], providing telecommunications connections to a global computer network, providing internet chatrooms, providing user access to global computer networks, providing online forums, rental of access time to global computer networks, transmission of greeting cards online, transmission of digital files, videoconferencing services.
  • Access to content, websites and portals, providing access to databases.
  • Provision and rental of telecommunications facilities and equipment, rental of message sending apparatus, rental of facsimile apparatus, rental of modems, rental of telecommunication equipment, rental of telephones.

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