(1) Introduction

In recent years, new entrants have come into the pet industry from other business sectors and have developed many pet-related goods and services. Further, rather than simply keeping pets by purchasing minimum commodities, consumers tend to find better quality of lives through pets.

Besides, general consumers tend to select brand pets and brand commodities rather than those without brands. Under such circumstances, it is important in the market competition to create a brand value for your pet-related goods and services so as to differentiate them from others.

Applications for pet-related-trademarks are filed in various classes for goods and services. "HARAKENZO more " would always be pleased to provide those engaged in the pet industry with business support in the field of intellectual properties.

(2) Determination of class

In a case where an application for a pet-related-trademark is to be filed, it is necessary to determine in which class the application is to be filed. Trademarks are classified into Classes 1 to 45 depending on the goods or services for which the trademarks are to be used. Classes 1 to 34 are for goods, and Classes 35 to 45 are for services.

In filing a trademark application, it is necessary to know whether the good or the service, for which the trademark is to be used, is covered by an appropriate class.

Pets are sold as living bodies, consume pet foods and pet commodities, and receive services such as cosmetic treatment and medical treatment. Accordingly, pet-related-trademarks are grouped in various classes.

The following introduces major classes related to pets.

  • Pet Goods (Classes 1 to 34)
  • < Animals, fishes, birds, and insects to be sold >
  • Pets to be sold as living bodies belong to Class 31. Specifically, animals, pets, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, pet birds, and aquarium fishes are the designated goods under the similar group code 33D02.
  • < Pet foods >
  • Pet foods and feed belong to the similar group code 33B01 in Class 31.
  • However, pet foods belong to different designated goods depending on the species of the pet to which the pet food of interest is to be fed and what kind of material the pet food is made from. So it would be better to make careful
  • determination. For example, designated goods are different depending on the species of the pet such as a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, and also different depending on the raw material of the pet food such as white meat, corn, and salmon. Furthermore, depending on the form, pet foods are classified into various designated goods such as pet gums, pet milk, and pet drinks.
  • < Pet commodities >
  • Pet commodities are grouped into many classes. The major classes to which some of the pet commodities belong are as follows:
  • Class 3: Shampoos for pets, Deodorants for pets, and the like
  • Class 5: Repellents for dogs, Medicines for veterinary purposes, Protein supplements for animals, and the like
  • Class 8: Nail clippers for pets
  • Class 9: Pet-related-devices such as a radio wave receiving and transmitting device for pet searching
  • Class 18: Clothing for pets
  • Class 20: Kennels for pets and the like
  • Class 21 Birdcages
  • Class 28 Toys for pets
  • Pet Services (Classes 35 to 45)
  • To open a pet shop, it is necessary to register a trademark not only in a class for pet-related-goods but also in a class for pet-related-services.
  • < Pet-related services >
  • Class 35
  • Services such as retail of goods in pet shops belong to Class 35 (e.g., “providing of benefits for customers in retail or wholesale of pet feed”) (similar group code 35K11).
  • Further, “providing of information regarding purchase and sale of pets” belongs to the similar group code 35B01. Note that, if a trademark application is filed under Class 35 with designation of a wide range of services for retail etc., JPO may issue a notification of reasons for refusal saying “there is a doubt about whether or not the trademark is actually used or there is a concrete plan for using it”. However, such refusals can be overcome by a proper response. It is important not to easily give up the trademark even if such a notification might be issued.
  • Class 41
  • As to pet-related services, “pet training”, “animal fair”, “organization of pet shows”, “seminars about pet treatment and pet nursing”, “qualification examination for animal nurses, animal trimmers, trainers of household dogs, and veterinary technicians, and certification thereof” belong to Class 41.
  • < Pet-accompanied services >
  • Class 39: Arranging of tours accompanied with pets
  • Class 43: Accommodation such as pet hotels, Temporary pet keeping, and Services for dining with pets
  • Class 44: Medical services and cosmetic services for pets
  • Class 45: Supports for pet care, pet funerals, and searching of lost pets

(3) Investigation

In Japan, trademarks are registered by JPO. In some cases, registration may be rejected due to, for example, presence of earlier trademarks. Trademark investigation before application is an effective measure to avoid such a situation. If an application is filed in a wrong class or a wrong designation of a good (or service), the scope of rights may not be appropriately reserved, which may cause a problem later.

If one trademark is to be used for a wide range of pet commodities, it is necessary to comprehensively designate various classes for the goods so as to reserve the scope of rights as wide as possible. In such a case, because increase in the designated classes increases application costs, it would be better to select a class with sufficient strategy.

There are many cases where although a good seems not to be similar to other goods, the good is actually deemed similar to other goods beyond its class. For example, clothing for pets, toys for pets, pet cushions, and brushes for pets belong to different classes but with the same similar group code, so that they are basically deemed as similar goods. Accordingly, trademark investigation has to be carefully carried out in this regard.

(4) Trademark registration in foreign countries

If a pet-related-good is to be manufactured or sold in foreign countries or exported into or imported from foreign countries, it is necessary to register a trademark of the good in the country either by filing an application to the patent office of the country or by using the international trademark registration system. For more details, please see “Introduction of foreign trademarks”.
(Introduction to Japanese Trademarks)

(5) Our support for those of you engaged in the pet industry

The pet industry is surrounded by environments that are still changing.

For example, sales of pet foods and pet commodities have already reached their peaks. In contrast, changes to provide pet-related goods that express individual life styles and to improve pet-related services are demanded. In order to create a brand value for your goods by addressing these demands of consumers, it is important to first investigate the possibility of your trademark infringing earlier trademarks, and then register your trademark so as to prevent imitations from infringing your goods and to protect the brand value for your goods.

"HARAKENZO more " would always be pleased to assist those of you engaged in the pet industry with protection of your intellectual properties, in accordance with various changes in the pet industry. Please feel free to contact us.

Supervisor of this article


Osaka Legal Strategy Department General Manager
Patent&Trademark Attorney
Specially Qualified Attorney For Infringement Litigation