In a prior post, we discussed that it is the relatedness of goods not International Class numbers that should be included in your search equation. Most people do not have access to or the time to include the relatedness of goods in their search equation like BOB. But if you have decided to incorporate International Class numbers in your search instead of using BOB, here are a few tips for getting the most out of them:
- Make sure you use the right International Class. The World Intellectual Property Organization offers a free, searchable database for the Nice Classifications. This is a good place to start to find the right International Class number.
- Searching for only a mark and International Class number will likely return pages of search results. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) shows only 100 results per page. Include your goods or services description in the search equation to narrow the results to something manageable.
- Use the Coordinated Class field with the USPTO Free Form search option. This was designed to included related International Classes in the search results when the primary International Class is search. However, if you are going to use the Coordinated Class field, then you must include some narrowing element in your search equation because you simply will return some many pages of results that are not practical to wade through. It is similar to doing an Internet search wading through pages and pages of results.
Relying on International Class numbers is better than wading through search results and relying on intuition to determine which goods or services are related to your goods or services. But the best and most reliable search results will consider and include the goods and services factor.