Register a trade mark: Before you apply:

Before you apply for a trade mark you need to:

  • decide which general category and specific type of goods or services (known as ‘classes’ and ‘terms’) you want to use your trade mark for
  • check if anyone else has registered a similar trade mark:

Decide which trade mark classes to apply for:

When you apply you must select at least one class and one term for your trade mark. These relate to the goods or services that you plan to use your trade mark on.

A class covers a general category of goods or services, while a term is more specific. For example class 25 covers clothing. It then includes terms that depend on the use or material of the clothes, such as sports clothing or knitwear.

Your trade mark will only be protected in the classes and terms you select.

You can choose more than one class or term but you should only choose ones relevant to your business plans for the next 5 years. The more terms you choose, the more likely it is that your trade mark will be similar to someone else’s.

You can not add more terms to your application after you send it.

Do not choose terms that you do not plan to sell any goods and services in over the next 5 years. If you do, your trade mark may be challenged and you may have to pay legal costs.

Find the right trade mark classes for your brand.


You intend to use your trade mark on your own sportswear line. You choose class 25 and select the terms ‘clothing’, ‘sports clothing’ and ‘athletic clothing’.

Check if anyone else has a similar trade mark:

Search the trade marks database to check if your trade mark is the same as, or similar to, any registered trade marks.

You can pay £ 100 for a Right Start application. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO:) will then check for similar trade marks for you, before you commit to paying the full fee.

If you find a trade mark similar to yours:

You should get professional advice to find out your options.

Do not apply without getting advice if you’re aware that there are any trade marks the same as, or similar to, what you want to register. The: IPO: will contact holders of identical or similar trade marks when you apply.

Get professional help and advice:

You can get free advice about registering a trade mark from:

If you have an inquiry about classes, email the: IPO:‘s classification inquiries team – [email protected]

You can also get professional help from a trade mark attorney. You will have to pay for their services.

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