November 16, 2016

The latest edition of the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Classification) will enter into force on January 1, 2017, bringing with it a number of significant additions and amendments.

Starting in the New Year, trademark owners will benefit from amendments to fifteen class headings and the addition of 334 new terms, as determined by the Committee of Experts of the Nice Union (the Committee) during its 26th session in Geneva earlier this year.

Amendments to class headings and associated Explanatory Notes aim to further clarify the scope of a particular class.

What’s new?

Amendments to class headings

The majority of 11th edition amendments arose from a joint proposal submitted by Japan, Switzerland, the United States, the European Union Intellectual Property Office and WIPO. The proposal, which focused on changes to twelve class headings and corresponding Explanatory Notes, was approved by the Committee with slight modifications. Delegates involved in the proposal indicated that they hope to extend revisions to other classes in the future.

Class headings affected by current revisions are those numbered 3, 6, 10, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 31 and 45. In addition to these fifteen classes, Explanatory Notes for classes 5, 11, 29, 30, 35, 42 and 44 were also modified.

Perhaps the most notable changes are the Committee’s decisions involving Class 21. Although a proposal to transfer table cutlery, kitchen knives and other kitchen utensils for cutting from Class 8 to Class 21 was not approved, all serving utensils will be grouped under Class 21 beginning January 1, 2017.

Amendments to list of goods and services

Changes to the alphabetical list of terms under the Nice Classification included the additions of several new services, including unlocking of mobile phones under Class 42, as well as dog walking, kimono dressing assistance, and conducting religious ceremonies under Class 45.

The expansion of the USD 460 billion global cosmetics and beauty industry also made its mark on the 11th edition of the Nice Classification, with the inclusion of eyelash brushes (under Class 21), foam toe separators for use in pedicures (Class 21), and herbal extracts for cosmetic purposes (Class 3) joining existing entries for false eyelashes (Class 3), manicure sets (Class 8), and hair extensions (Class 26).

Culinary entrepreneurs will rejoice at the addition of several new goods under Classes 29 and 30, including guacamole, onion rings, falafel, bibimbap, dulce de leche, almond, peanut and coconut milks, as well as nut- and chocolate-based spreads. For the more adventurous foodie, escamoles (prepared edible ant larvae) and edible insects have also been added (Classes 29 and 31), courtesy of proposals by representatives from Mexico and France.

Brand owners in the health sector can benefit from changes and additions to several classes, including body composition monitors (Class 10), and new entries for both herbal extracts and phytotherapy preparations for medical purposes (Class 5).

Entry into force of the new terms and class headings

WIPO will apply the 11th edition of the Nice Classification to all applications for international registration received by an Office of Origin under the Madrid System on or after January 1, 2017. However, WIPO will not reclassify the list of goods and services under international registrations affected by renewals, subsequent designations or other changes filed after December 31, 2016.

In addition, lists of goods and services which have been classified according to the new edition of the Nice Classification will include the abbreviation “NCL(11-2017)”. WIPO will insert this abbreviation in registration certificates, official publications and notifications sent to designated Contracting Parties.

To further assist users in creating or modifying their list of goods and services in accordance with the 11th edition, the Madrid Goods & Services Manager will be updated in the database’s 18 languages to reflect all the latest changes. Thanks to specialized “Check acceptance” functions, trademark applicants and registrants will be able to access valuable information on acceptability of terms in individual Contracting Party Offices (“Check acceptance by dCP”), and automatically reclassify goods and services in alignment with the new Nice Classification (“Check acceptance by WIPO”).

What is the Nice Classification?

The Nice Classification is a system used to classify goods and services for the registration of trademarks. Under the Nice Classification, related goods and services are grouped together under various categories or classes, each with their own unique heading.

The Nice Classification is continuously revised by a Committee of Experts. A new version is published annually, and a new edition is published every five years. 

Each new version of the Nice Classification includes all changes adopted by the Committee since the adoption of the previous version. Each new edition of the Classification includes all changes and amendments adopted annually by the Committee during the full five-year revision period.

“Changes” to the Nice Classification consist of adding/deleting goods and services to or from the alphabetical list of terms, as well as modifying the wording of individual goods and services, class headings and corresponding explanatory notes.

“Amendments” generally refer to any transfer of goods or services from one class to another, or the creation of new classes.

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