World Intellectual Property Organization

International Classifications

(Part 5 of the Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation)

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 created classification systems 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 by many countries.

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:

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