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Classifying your goods and/or services


When you apply to register a trade mark you need to include a list of all goods and/or services that you want or intend to use the mark for. This is called a specification of goods or services.

When deciding what to include in your specification, consider the following:

  • You must have an honest intention to trade in all of the goods and/or services.
  • Your list of goods and/or services must be clear so that anyone looking at the trade mark database will be able to understand the exact nature of the goods or services. For example, avoid using vague terms such as ‘etc.’ in your specification.
  • A specification is a description of what you trade in. As such it is not necessary to provide information on how the trade mark is to be used. For example, avoid providing superfluous information such as “the trade mark will be used on a label” or “the trade mark will be used on a letterhead” in your specification.

Note the following examples of clear and concise goods and services specifications:

  • clothing
  • wholesale and retail of clothing
  • café services
  • cosmetics including moisturisers, make-up and lipstick
  • provision of a training course in relation to horseback riding
  • temporary accommodation services, namely bed and breakfast services.


You also need to list the class or classes that the goods or services fall in. This is referred to as the classification of your goods or services.

Classification is the term used to describe the categorising of goods and services of a similar kind into classes for ease of identification and searching.

New Zealand uses an international classification system called the International Classification of Goods and Services (currently the 10th edition of the Nice Classification, introduced on 1 January 2012), which is published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). This classification system comprises 45 classes. Of those 45 classes, classes 1 to 34 pertain to goods, while classes 35 to 45 pertain to services.

Each trade mark application fee is calculated based on the number of classes being applied for. If you require protection for goods or services in more than one class, the total number of classes will determine the fee for the application.

To find out what class or classes your goods and services should fall into, see our classification database.

Once we've received your application, we’ll examine your specification of goods and services and determine if you have classified your goods and services correctly. If not, we’ll let you know the changes required in order for your application to proceed. In some cases we may ask for further information about a good or service.

If your goods or services fall into more than one class, you have the opportunity to add additional classes to your application. The fee for each additional class is the same as the application fee.

For more information, see Practice guideline 03: Classification and specification.