Anyone applying for a patent or registering a trademark or design, whether at the national or international level, is required to determine whether their creation is new or is owned or claimed by someone else. To determine this, huge amounts of information must be searched. Four WIPO treaties (listed below) created classification systems which organize information concerning inventions, trademarks, and industrial designs into indexed, manageable structures for easy retrieval. Regularly updated to include changes and advances in technology and commercial practices, the classification systems are used voluntarily by many countries which are not member States of the related agreements.
This site contains basic information concerning four international classifications, their use worldwide, principles of their application and revision and explanatory material. It also includes a latest edition of each classification in the English and French languages. For more information, click on one of the following headings:
WIPO administers four treaties establishing international classifications, the texts of which are also available:
- the Strasbourg Agreement concerning the International Patent Classification (IPC);
- the Nice Agreement concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks;
- the Locarno Agreement establishing the International Classification for Industrial Designs;
- the Vienna Agreement establishing the International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks.