European Trademark Headings

The European Court of Justice has ruled on the use of class headings in European community trademarks in “IP Translator” – C-307/10 Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.

The decision relates to the interpretation of what goods and services are covered by European community trade marks (CTM) when reference is made to standardized class headings. The Court’s ruled that:

An applicant for a national trade mark who uses all the general indications of a particular class heading of the Classification referred to in Article 1 of the Nice Agreement to identify the goods or services for which the protection of the trade mark is sought must specify whether its application for registration is intended to cover all the goods or services included in the alphabetical list of that class or only some of those goods or services. If the application concerns only some of those goods or services, the applicant is required to specify which of the goods or services in that class are intended to be covered.

The Office of Harmonization of Internal Markets (OHIM) has issued an official notice 2/12. relating to the decision and how applications for marks will be handled. The directive states in part:

…applicants are not precluded from using the general indications of the class headings to identify the goods and services for which protection is sought, provided that this identification is sufficiently clear and precise.

One example, cited by commentators is class 20, is entitled “Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; goods (not included in other classes) of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastics.” but which also includes “sleeping bags for camping” as potentially being unclear.