International trademark classification is a system of classifying marks. A mark is registered in line with the trademark classification for particular goods and services. The basis for this is the “Nice Classification,” with 45 different classes for goods and services. The classification was internationally established on 15 June 1957 during a diplomatic conference in Nice, France as the “Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks.” Germany is a signatory nation to this treaty.

Nice Classification (11th edition, version 2019)

You can view the guidelines for users and general remarks, titles of classes, and the division of classes with explanatory remarks at the link below.

German Patent and Trade Mark Office: Nice Classification

The advantage of classes of goods for trademarks is that products with the same names in different classes can exist alongside each other. Classes 1 through 34 contain goods and classes 35 through 42 are for services.

The determination of the class(es) of goods for which national or international protection of the company name, product name, or trademark is to be claimed is an important step. The decision has to be made at a very early step in the process, because as early as the creative phase of naming, name ideas are checked for availability at the agency. If it is suspected that a name which is strongly favored might violate the existing rights of a third party or parties, the idea can be changed or discarded early during the evaluation of name ideas.

The “Nice Classification” is updated every five years. Since 2013, there have also been annual versions. This concerns new entries or the deletion or reformulation of existing entries.