In our everyday life, beer and wine are both regarded as “alcohol” and youth are prohibited from drinking both before the age of 18 (in Israel, for example) and 21 in other countries (such as the USA).

This is the reason why I have always wondered why trademark international classification rules distinguish between these two types of alcohol beverages.

Trademark filing and registrations are territorial, and Israel is very similar to other countries, when conducting trademark filing and registration under specific classifications either of goods or services following the NICE Agreement classification system.

There are 34 different classes are aimed to distinguish between different types of goods (software, metal, paper, medicine etc.) and 10 additional classes are aimed to distinguish between different types of services (business services, legal services, insurance services etc.).

Most peculiar is the distinction between beer that is classified under international class 32 together with non-alcoholic beverages while alcoholic beverages, excluding beers, is classified under international class 33. Thus, implying that beer is regarded as a non-alcoholic drink.

Well, not so much.

Apparently, beer has been included in class 32 since the first edition of the NICE Agreement (in 1963) because it was often commercialized by the same companies that produced and/or sold soft drinks. Believe it or not, beer was considered as an alternative to soft drinks also since it has lower alcohol content than most beverages in class 33. Later proposals aimed at transferring beer from Class 32 to Class 33 have been rejected by the Committee of Experts of the Nice Union due to the similarity of    channels of commerce of beer and soft drinks.

Given this reasoning, how would you categorize beer? Based on its (despite low) alcohol component or commercial channels?

Adi Barkan-Lev

About Adi Barkan-Lev

An experienced attorney specializing in Intellectual Property matters. Providing consulting, prosecution and legal services in all areas of Intellectual Property, including copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, patents, commercial wrongs, counterfeit goods and imitations.