TMEP 1402.05(b): Material Composition

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1402.05(b)    Material Composition

According to the General Remarks of the Nice Classification, unworked or semi-worked raw materials are in principle classified according to their material composition. See TMEP §1401.02(a). For example, "unworked or semi-worked gold" is classified in Class 14 and "raw or semi-worked rubber" is classified in Class 17.

The General Remarks of the Nice Classification also provide the following guidance on the classification of finished goods:

A finished product is in principle classified according to its function or purpose. If the function or purpose of a finished product is not mentioned in any class heading, the finished product is classified by analogy with other comparable finished products, indicated in the Alphabetical List. If none is found, other subsidiary criteria, such as that of the material of which the product is made or its mode of operation, are applied.

TMEP §1401.02(a) (emphasis added). If an identification of goods is specific, but the goods could be classified in more than one class depending on the material composition, then the material composition must be indicated in the identification of the goods.

Example - "Statues" refers to specific items; however, the classification depends on the material composition. "Statues of non-precious metal" are classified in Class 6; "statues of precious metal" are classified in Class 14; "statues of wax, wood, plaster, or plastic" are classified in Class 20; and "statues of glass" are classified in Class 21.

However, in certain situations, because of the nature of the particular industry and the knowledge that the items are made out of different materials and are classified accordingly, an indication of the material composition in the identification may be unnecessary.  See TMEP §§1401.07 and 1402.03 for further explanation.

When goods, whether finished or not, are classified according to material composition, and the goods are made of more than one material, the goods are classified according to the material that predominates. See Nice General Remarks in TMEP §1401.02(a). The identification must clearly set forth the primary material composition of the goods for proper classification.

Example - "Statues primarily of precious metal and also including glass" are classified in Class 14 because the primary composition is precious metal, and statues of precious metal are classified in Class 14.

Example - "Statues primarily of glass and also including precious metal" are classified in Class 21 because the primary composition is glass, and statues of glass are classified in Class 21.