A diplomatic conference, to which all the countries members of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property were invited and which was held in Locarno (Switzerland), adopted, on October 8, 1968, the Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification).
The Locarno Classification comprises:
(i) a list of classes and subclasses;
(ii) an alphabetical list of goods in which industrial designs are incorporated, with an indication of the classes and subclasses into which they fall;
(iii) explanatory notes.
The original list of classes and subclasses was attached to the Locarno Agreement when it was adopted.
The Locarno Agreement set up a Committee of Experts, in which each country party to the Agreement is represented. The Agreement empowered the Committee to make “amendments” in or “additions” to the original list of classes and subclasses, to establish the alphabetical list and the explanatory notes (which were not established in the diplomatic conference), and to amend and supplement each and any of the three parts (list of classes and subclasses, alphabetical list of goods, explanatory notes) of the Classification.
Use of the Locarno Classification
The Locarno Classification is “solely of an administrative character” and does not bind the contracting countries “as regards the nature and scope of the protection afforded to the design in those countries” (Locarno Agreement, Article 2(1)).
The Locarno Agreement requires the industrial property office of each contracting country to “include in the official documents for the deposit or registration of designs, and, if they are officially published, in the publications in question, the numbers of the classes and subclasses of the international classification into which the goods incorporating the designs belong” (Article 2(3)). Recommendations of the Committee of Experts deal with the manner in which the classes and subclasses should be indicated in the said documents and publications.
Besides the competent offices of the contracting States, the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), the Benelux Organisation for Intellectual Property (BOIP) and the European Union Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) also use the Locarno Classification in their registers and in the publications they issue.
Revisions and Editions of the Locarno Classification
The Locarno Classification has been revised several times by the Committee of Experts. The current (ninth) edition incorporates all the revisions made in and before October 2007. It contains 32 classes, 219 subclasses and an alphabetical list of 7,024 goods. The alphabetical list is presented in two parts: the first part lists all the goods in a single alphabetical list, irrespective of the class to which each of them belongs; the second part lists, separately for each subclass, in alphabetical order, the goods that belong to that subclass. The explanatory notes are incorporated in the list of classes and subclasses.
The authentic versions of the Locarno Classification, in English and French, are published by the International Bureau of WIPO on paper, on CD-ROM and online. The ninth edition was published in June 2008 and has been in force since January 1, 2009. It replaces the previous editions.