The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)—the federal agency that oversees the registration and management of federal trademarks—divides marks into 45 different "classes" of products and services. The purpose of these classes is to allow different types of businesses to register their trademarks into categories most related to their core business.
For example, no reasonable consumer would be confused into thinking that a security company called "Protector" was the same as a company by the same name that creates dental retainers and mouth guards. These different classes of goods do not compete with one another.
Class 45 includes security services (namely for the protection of property and individuals), and other related personal, legal, and social services. For a complete listing of all goods in Class 45, see below.
For more information about trademarks and federal registration, see Nolo's articles about Trademark Law.
Consider ROSELLE POLICE (police and civil protection services), SOS ALARM (security system installation), LITTLER (legal services), and ANSWER MAN (legal services), all of which are good examples of Class 45 trademarks.
You would not use Class 45 if you were registering:
If you are unsure whether you should register in Class 45, you might also consider the following "coordinated" classes: Class 35 - Advertising and Business Services, Class 36 - Insurance and Finance 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, or Class 44 - Medical and Veterinary Services.
A coordinated class is one that is related to another class, usually because the PTO has determined that applicants filing within Class 45 often file in the coordinated classes, too.
Your first instinct might be to register your mark in all 45 classes, or at least in all coordinated classes. Not only would the PTO probably reject such an approach, but registration fees increase depending on the number of classes you register.
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's trademark database.
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 (such as security or legal services), you obviously 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 45 services:
Audio specimens are also unacceptable. 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.