When applying to register a mark through the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office, the PTO will want to know what kinds of goods and services you use your mark in conjunction with. That is, what are you selling? The decision here effects two parts of your application: (1) the International Class you choose; and (2) how you describe your goods and services. You can think of the International Class as the broad category your product or service fits into, and the description is the more specific explanation of what, within that class, you’re marketing.
The USPTO, through their TEAS Plus application, attempts to make the second part easy, with their ID Manual (formally known as the U.S. Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual), which lists all of the pre-packaged descriptions that you can choose from, and remain eligible for the reduced-fee TEAS Plus application (it costs more to make up your own description).
Before you choose your description though, you’ll need to broadly choose your class. The US follows the Nice Classification System, established initially under treaty in 1957 and continually revised, which is hugely beneficial when filing applications under the Madrid System for international registration. Very detailed, alphabetical listings of goods and their Nice Classification are available on the WIPO website, but the general International Classes are as follows:
Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry.
Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists.
Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices.
Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants; candles and wicks for lighting.
Pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic food and substances adapted for medical or veterinary use, food for babies; dietary supplements for humans and animals; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides.
Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; ironmongery, small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; safes; goods of common metal not included in other classes; ores.
Machines and machine tools; motors and engines (except for land vehicles); machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles); agricultural implements other than hand-operated; incubators for eggs; automatic vending machines.
Hand tools and implements (hand-operated); cutlery; side arms; razors.
Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images; magnetic data carriers, recording discs; compact discs, DVDs and other digital recording media; mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment, computers; computer software; fire-extinguishing apparatus.
Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments, artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; orthopedic articles; suture materials.
Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes.
Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water.
Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.
Precious metals and their alloys and goods in precious metals or coated therewith, not included in other classes; jewellery, precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.
Paper, cardboard and goods made from these materials, not included in other classes; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists’ materials; paint brushes; typewriters and office requisites (except furniture); instructional and teaching material (except apparatus); plastic materials for packaging (not included in other classes); printers’ type; printing blocks.
Rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials and not included in other classes; plastics in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials; flexible pipes, not of metal.
Leather and imitations of leather, and goods made of these materials and not included in other classes; animal skins, hides; trunks and travelling bags; umbrellas and parasols; walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery.
Building materials (non-metallic); non-metallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch and bitumen; non-metallic transportable buildings; monuments, not of metal.
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.
Household or kitchen utensils and containers; combs and sponges; brushes (except paint brushes); brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; steelwool; unworked or semi-worked glass (except glass used in building); glassware, porcelain and earthenware not included in other classes.
Ropes, string, nets, tents, awnings, tarpaulins, sails, sacks and bags (not included in other classes); padding and stuffing materials (except of rubber or plastics); raw fibrous textile materials.
Yarns and threads, for textile use.
Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes; bed covers; table covers.
Clothing, footwear, headgear.
Lace and embroidery, ribbons and braid; buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; artificial flowers.
Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile).
Games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes; decorations for Christmas trees.
Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs; milk and milk products; edible oils and fats.
Coffee, tea, cocoa and artificial coffee; rice; tapioca and sago; flour and preparations made from cereals; bread, pastry and confectionery; ices; sugar, honey, treacle; yeast, baking-powder; salt; mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice.
Grains and agricultural, horticultural and forestry products not included in other classes; live animals; fresh fruits and vegetables; seeds; natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals; malt.
Beers; mineral and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic beverages; fruit beverages and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages.
Alcoholic beverages (except beers).
Tobacco; smokers’ articles; matches.
Advertising; business management; business administration; office functions.
Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.
Building construction; repair; installation services.
Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.
Treatment of materials.
Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.
Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software.
Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation.
Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture and forestry services.
Legal services; security services for the protection of property and individuals; personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.