Frequently Asked Questions: Locarno Classification

The Locarno Classification is an international classification system used to classify goods for the purposes of the registration of industrial designs. The complete title of the Classification is International Classification for Industrial Designs.

The Locarno Agreement is the WIPO-administered multilateral treaty that establishes the Locarno Classification.  It was adopted on October 8, 1968 and amended on September 28, 1979.

The competent offices of the countries party to the Locarno Agreement are required to include in the official documents and publications relating to the deposit or registration of industrial designs the numbers of the classes and subclasses of the Locarno Classification into which the goods that constitute the industrial designs belong.

Use of the Locarno Classification by national offices has the advantage of filing applications for the registration of industrial designs with reference to a single classification system. This procedure facilitates industrial design searches and obviates substantial reclassification work when documents are exchanged at the international level.

Use of the Locarno Classification by the competent national offices of the countries party to the Locarno Agreement is mandatory.  In January 2017, the number of such States stood at 54 (the list of contracting parties is regularly updated).  The Classification is also applied for the registration of industrial designs by the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), as well as by the International Bureau of WIPO in the administration of the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs.

The Locarno Classification consists of a list of 32 classes and 219 subclasses with explanatory notes, as the case may be, and an alphabetical list of goods, which contains 5,167 entries in English.  The classes and the subclasses provide a general indication as to the type of goods belonging to each class and subclass.  The explanatory notes give more detailed information about a class in general or a subclass in particular.  The alphabetical list of goods constitutes the most detailed level in the structure.

In order to keep the Locarno Classification up to date, it is continuously revised by the Committee of Experts set up under the Locarno Agreement. A new edition of the Classification is published normally every five years but the Committee can determine shorter revision periods.

The authentic versions of the Locarno Classification (in English and French) are published by WIPO online.