World Intellectual Property Organization

Summary of the Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks (1973)

The Vienna Agreement establishes a classification (the Vienna Classification) for marks that consist of, or contain, figurative elements. The competent offices of Contracting States must indicate in official documents and publications relating to registrations and renewals of marks the numbers of the categories, divisions and sections of the Classification to which the figurative elements of those marks belong.

A Committee of Experts in which all Contracting States are represented, set up under the Agreement, is entrusted with the task of periodically revising the Classification. The current (seventh) edition has been in force since January 1, 2013.

The Classification consists of 29 categories, 145 divisions and some 1,700 sections in which the figurative elements of marks are classified.

Although only 31 States are party to the Vienna Agreement, the Classification is used by the industrial property offices of at least 30 other States, as well as by the International Bureau of WIPO, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the Benelux Organisation for Intellectual Property (BOIP) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) of the European Union (EU).

The Vienna Agreement created a Union, which has an Assembly. Every State that is a member of the Union is a member of the Assembly. Among the most important tasks of the Assembly is the adoption of the biennial program and budget of the Union.

The Vienna Agreement, concluded in 1973, was amended in 1985.

The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

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