What is TMClass?
TMclass is a search tool for classification of Goods and Services for trademark protection purposes. It is the interface that provides access to the Harmonised Database (HDB), the EU common list of Goods and Services terms. It is also a portal that brings together the classification databases of all European and international participating offices, the names of which are displayed on the TMclass website.
TMclass offers a user-friendly environment with advanced features for browsing and searching terms, the possibility of verifying terms between the classification databases of Participating Offices, and multilingual functions for term translation.
What is the Harmonised Database?
The HDB is a common list of Goods and Services terms accepted and implemented by all EU trademark offices. It consists of more than 78 000 terms that have been pre-validated by the EU National Offices and includes all terms from the Nice Alphabetical list. The HDB is the largest classification database in the world with all terms available in all official languages of the EU.
The HDB is a trusted source inside and outside of the EU; it is a live set of terms that is continuously updated and expanded. The harmonised workflow is based on democratic principles and transparent procedures whereby all the harmonised offices in the EU feed the database through a common application known as the Terminology Maintenance Console (TMC). This is achieved by proposing new terms for creation and proposing outdated terms for deletion. The harmonised workflow is based on a monthly cycle and ensures fully updated Goods and Services terms that reflect current market reality.
The development and expansion of the database also depends on collaboration initiatives with other IP organisations and the inclusion of classification lists such as the TM5 ID-list and the Madrid Goods and Services database (MGS) administered by WIPO.
Use of the Harmonised Database is a pre-requisite when registering trademarks via EUIPO’s Fast Track application procedure.
How does TMclass work?
The content of the Harmonised Database is organised in TMclass via a Taxonomy Tree structure. The Taxonomy is based on the 45 Class Headings of the Nice Classification, the international standard classification for Goods and Services. The TMclass Taxonomy is not an official part of the Nice Classification and does not have any legal effect in trademark examination or in the comparison of Goods and Services.
In the Taxonomy Tree the 45 Class Headings (1-34 Goods, 35-45 Services) are split into groups and in some cases into further subgroups. When browsing and searching for terms in TMclass, the classes will be displayed in a hierarchical structure showing the different levels of taxonomisation within each class.
The Taxonomy system aims to help with the classification process by allowing users to navigate intuitively through the classes to achieve more precision in their choice of terms.
How can TMclass assist you?
Specification and classification of Goods and Services is a necessary step when registering a trademark, whether it is an international trademark, an EU trademark, or a country-specific trademark. With TMclass you can:
Browse the full taxonomy structure of Goods and Services contained within the Harmonised Database and the classification databases of each of the participating offices.
Search for Goods and Services descriptions (terms) to determine the relevant class before applying for trademark protection as well as comparing terms contained in the databases of participating offices.
Verify if a list of Goods and Services in a given language appears in the database of a participating office with the same working language.
Translate a term or a list of terms to obtain equivalents in the language of one of the participating offices.
In the past, trademark protection was provided on a country-by-country basis alone. It was a complicated process due to language barriers and significant differences in the way countries classified Goods and Services. Over the years there have been a series of international initiatives to overcome classification obstacles in the application and registration process of trademarks at international level, including the Nice Classification, the TM5 ID-List project, the Madrid Goods and Services Manager, and the Harmonisation Project.
The Nice Classification
The Nice classification is a system of Goods and Services administered by WIPO for the purposes of registering trademarks. It was established in 1957 via the multilateral treaty “The Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks”. It consists of 45 Class Headings, 34 for Goods and 11 for Services, the Alphabetical List of Goods and Services and the Explanatory notes for each class. There are 84 States party to the Nice Agreement with the trademark offices of 65 additional States also using the classification as well as WIPO, OAPI, ARIPO, BOIP and EUIPO.
TM5 ID List
The TM5 is the framework through which the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Administration for Industry & Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (SAIC), and the European Union Intellectual Property Office exchange information on trademark related matters and undertake collaborative activities. One of the projects under this collaboration framework concerns the ID list. The ID List is composed of Goods and Services descriptions (IDs) that have been pre-approved by all TM5 partner offices. Applicants that use this list can be sure that the IDs selected will be accepted in all TM5 partner offices.
The Harmonisation Project
The idea for the Harmonisation of Goods and Services classification was born in 2008 when the EU trademark offices recognised the need to eliminate the classification differences existing between offices. The aim was to reach a common classification practice among participating offices which included the availability of one single list of agreed Goods and Services terms in all EU languages. The intended result would be a lower level of objections for applicants and a lower level of deficiencies faced by the participating offices. The database began as a collaborative effort between the UKIPO and EUIPO who set up the initial database in English. Sweden also joined early on with the other EU offices soon following suit. As of February 2016 the Harmonised database is accepted in every EU trademark office and available in all official EU languages.
Madrid Goods and Services Database - WIPO
The Madrid Goods and Services List is administered by WIPO and includes terms that have been pre-approved for international applications by WIPO, Canada and 28 offices under the Madrid System. The database is available in the three official Madrid System filing languages (English, French and Spanish) as well as in 15 other non-official languages.