The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), the federal agency that oversees the registration of federal trademarks, divides marks into 45 different "classes" of products or services. The purpose of these classes is to allow different types of businesses to register their trademarks in the categories most related to their core business. Trademark Class 36 includes services for insurance, financial affairs, monetary affairs and real estate affairs. Registrants mainly use Class 36 for services rendered in financial and monetary affairs. In particular, the class includes:
- services of all the banking establishments, or institutions connected with them such as exchange brokers or clearing services
- services of credit institutions other than banks such as co-operative credit associations, individual financial companies, lenders, and so forth
- services of "investment trusts," of holding companies
- services of brokers dealing in shares and property
- services connected with monetary affairs vouched for by trustees
- services rendered in connection with the issue of travelers' cheques and letters of credit;
- hire- or lease-purchase financing
- services of realty administrators of buildings, i.e., services of letting or valuation, or financing, and
- services dealing with insurance such as services rendered by agents or brokers engaged in insurance, services rendered to insured, and insurance underwriting services.
For a complete listing of all goods in Class 36, see below. For more information about trademarks and federal registration, see Nolo's articles on Trademark.
Examples of Trademarks in Class 36
Good examples of Class 36 marks include TIC (financial consulting), GREATFLORIDA INSURANCE (insurance agency), and PROTECT ME (insurance consulting).
Related or Coordinated Classes
If you are not sure whether you should register in Class 36, you might also consider the following "coordinated" classes: Class 35 - Advertising and Business Services, Class 37 - Construction and Repair Services, Class 38 - Telecommunications 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 PTO has determined that applicants filing within Class 36 often file in these other classes, too.
The trademark class system will also affect the scope of the registration fees that you pay. 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 PTO trademark database.
Supplying Specimens for Class 36
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.
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 36 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, and
- letterhead or business cards that bear only the mark and a company name and address, unless the letterhead or the text of the letter identifies the services represented by the mark.
While most marks appear in writing somewhere, trademarks can also be in audio format. 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.
Complete Listing of All Goods in Class 36 Based on Taxonomy
- Insurance services, actuarial services, insurance brokerage, insurance information, insurance consultancy.
- Insurance underwriting and appraisals and assessment for insurance purposes, accident insurance underwriting, fire insurance underwriting, health insurance underwriting, insurance underwriting, life insurance underwriting, marine insurance underwriting.
- Warranty services, Real estate services, accommodation bureaux [apartments], apartment house management, housing agents/real estate brokers, leasing of real estate, leasing of farms, real estate agencies, real estate management, rental of offices [real estate], renting of flats/renting of apartments.
- Rent collection, rent collection.
- Pawnbrokerage, pawnbrokerage.
- Provision of prepaid cards and tokens, issue of tokens of value, issuing of travellers' checks [cheques].
- Safe deposit services, deposits of valuables, safe deposit services, Financial and monetary services, and banking, banking, brokerage, brokerage of carbon credits, business liquidation services, financial, financial management, financing services, home banking, savings bank services, trusteeship/fiduciary.
- Currency trading and exchange services, exchanging money.
- Securities and commodities trading services, clearing, financial/clearing-houses, financial, securities brokerage/stocks and bonds brokerage, stock exchange quotations, stock brokerage services.
- Loan and credit, and lease-finance services, credit bureaux, hire-purchase financing/lease-purchase financing, instalment loans, lending against security, loans [financing], mortgage banking, surety services/bail-bonding/guarantees.
- Debt recovery and factoring services, debt collection agencies, factoring, Investment services, capital investments/fund investments/capital investment, Fund investments, mutual funds, provident fund services.
- Financial underwriting and securities issuance (investment banking), Financial transfers and transactions, and payment services, retirement payment services, electronic funds transfer.
- Cash, check (cheque) and money order services, Card services, credit card services, debit card services, issuance of credit cards.
- Tax and duty payment services, customs brokerage.
- Financial information, data, advice and consultancy services, financial analysis, check [cheque] verification, debt advisory services, financial information, financial consultancy, repair costs evaluation [financial appraisal].
- Financial rating and credit reports, Financial appraisal services, financial evaluation [insurance, banking, real estate], fiscal assessments/fiscal valuations, Fundraising and sponsorship, charitable fund raising, financial sponsorship, organization of collections.
- Valuation services, antique appraisal, jewelry appraisal, art appraisal, financial evaluation of wool, financial evaluation of standing timber/financial valuation of standing timber, numismatic appraisal, real estate appraisal, stamp appraisal.