Know 7 different types of Trademark and NICE classification

A trademark is a logo, or a characters and numerals employed by a company to establish its ownership of a particular term or design, symbolizing its products and services. Trademarks exist in diverse forms and can be officially registered across various categories like product marks, service marks, collective marks, certification marks, shape marks, sound marks, and pattern marks.

Regardless of the range in types of Trademark, their core objective persists – aiding consumers in recognizing products and services originating from a specific manufacturer or service provider. This article delves into the different types of trademarks.

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What are the types of Trademark?

  • Various types of Trademark are classified based on distinctive features.
    • Generic trademarks, referring to common terms, lack eligibility for protection.
    • Descriptive marks emphasize product attributes, demanding acquired distinctiveness.
    • Suggestive marks indirectly imply characteristics.
    • Arbitrary marks use common words in unrelated contexts, while fanciful marks, the most robust, are entirely invented.
    • Defensive marks are registered to prevent the use of similar marks by others.
What are the types of Trademark

Service marks identify services rather than products. Certification marks ensure adherence to specific standards, and collective marks signify membership in an organization. In essence, trademarks play a crucial role in safeguarding brand identity, distinguishing goods and services within the market.

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What are the different types of trademark design?

The different types of Trademark design in India are as follows;

  1. Product Mark:
    • A product mark serves as a unique emblem affixed to a tangible product, clearly distinguishing it from services and playing a pivotal role in shaping and sustaining the distinctive identity and reputation of a business.
    • Falling under the trademark class 1-34 category, this specific type of trademark functions as a visual symbol, seamlessly aiding in the identification of a product’s origin.
    • Through strategic utilization, businesses can leverage product marks not only to set their goods apart in the competitive market but also to foster the cultivation of brand loyalty. This involves establishing a robust connection between consumers and the mark, where the symbol becomes synonymous not just with the excellence and dependability of the products but also with the values and principles embraced by the business, thereby reinforcing its standing in the marketplace.
  2. Service Mark:
    • Much like product marks, service marks function as exclusive symbolic identifiers for services, facilitating the differentiation of providers within trademark class 35-45. In contrast to product marks that signify tangible goods, service marks are crucial in encapsulating the unique identity of various services.
    • Businesses strategically submit trademark applications in class 35-45, crafting visual representations to distinguish themselves and act as symbols of quality, reliability, and values in their services. This intentional approach cultivates consumer trust and loyalty, ultimately boosting the business’s visibility and reputation in the market.
  3. Collective Mark:
    • A collective mark communicates unique characteristics of a product or service, representing a collective group. Used collectively by individuals, it safeguards a product or service, with the mark holder being an association, public institution, or Section 8 Company.
    • In the realm of a collective mark, standards for products are usually established by the overseeing entity. Members of the collective must adhere to these standards when incorporating the mark into their business activities. An instance in India is the Chartered Accountants designation, exemplifying the utilization of a collective mark.
  4. Certification Mark:
    • A certification mark serves as a symbol denoting a product’s origin, material, quality, or other specific details, granted by the proprietor. Its main purpose is to emphasize the product’s standards and provide customers with assurance regarding its quality.
    • By showcasing that the product has undergone standardized tests to ensure quality, certification marks contribute to enhancing the product’s reputation. Frequently observed on items like packaged foods, toys, and electronics, these marks are designed to instill confidence in consumers regarding the certified excellence of the products.
  5. Shape Mark:
    • A Shape Mark is specifically utilized to protect the distinct shape of a product, establishing a link for customers to a specific manufacturer and influencing their product preferences. Registration for the shape of a product is feasible when it is recognized as having a unique and notable form.
    • Examples of shape marks, such as the recognizable contours of Coca-Cola and Fanta bottles, are synonymous with their respective brands. These distinctive shapes function not just as identifiers but also as potent instruments for fostering brand recognition and cultivating consumer loyalty.
  6. Pattern Mark:
    • Pattern marks refer to products distinguished by unique designed patterns that serve as their defining feature. Patterns lacking distinctiveness are usually rejected due to their lack of meaningful purpose. To qualify for registration, a pattern must exhibit evidence of its singular character.
    • Successfully registered patterns enjoy legal protection, granting exclusive usage rights and prohibiting others from employing similar designs in the market. This uniqueness criterion guarantees that only genuinely distinctive patterns attain the status of a registered pattern mark.
  7. Sound Mark:
    • A Sound Mark serves as an audible symbol connected to a product or service from a particular provider. To qualify for registration, the sound mark must prompt instant recognition of the associated service, product, or show upon hearing it.
    • Sound logos, referred to as audio mnemonics, are frequently incorporated at the beginning or end of commercials. A notable illustration in India is the distinctive tune associated with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

International Trademark Classifications

The global registration and protection of trademarks hinge on the crucial framework provided by the international classification system. Central to this structure is the NICE Classification (NCL), established under the NICE Agreement and managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The NCL categorizes goods and services into 45 classes, with 34 designated for goods and 11 for services. Trademarks now extend beyond mere product identification, encompassing diverse services to mirror the dynamic nature of commerce. WIPO plays a pivotal role in overseeing international trademark registration, notably through the widely employed Madrid System.

This system allows applicants to register their trademarks across multiple countries with a single application. Regular updates and revisions to the NICE Classification keep it aligned with technological and commercial progress, ensuring its continued relevance.


In summary, trademarks are essential tools for businesses, safeguarding their brand identity and aiding consumers in distinguishing products and services. Ranging from generic to fanciful, trademarks vary in strength and purpose. In different types of trademark, Product marks falling under class 1-34, visually define tangible products, while service marks in class 35-45 play a similar role for services.

1. What categories of trademarks exist? 

Trademarks encompass generic, descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful marks, each with different levels of eligibility for legal protection.

2. Is it possible to protect trademarks that consist of common terms? 

Trademarks made up of common terms, known as generic trademarks, are ineligible for protection because they lack distinctiveness.

3. What sets fanciful marks apart from arbitrary marks in the realm of trademarks? 

Fanciful marks are created entirely, whereas arbitrary marks utilize common words in unrelated contexts; both represent potent and distinctive types of trademarks.

4. What is the Madrid System? 

Administered by WIPO, the Madrid System simplifies trademark registration, allowing applicants to register their trademarks in multiple countries through a single application.

5. What is the functioning of the Nice Classification system? 

Overseen by WIPO, the Nice Classification system organizes goods and services into classes, streamlining the process of international trademark registration and providing protection.

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