Classifications are used in almost all fields of science and technology. In the area of industrial property protection classifications are used to organise technical subject matter, goods and services as well as products. Attributing (classifying) industrial property rights to categories (classes) of these hierarchical systems mainly serves a practical purpose. For example, it allows you to perform topic-focused and language-independent searches on the state of the art and to find figurative elements of trade marks or classes of goods and services. The following classifications for the individual types of industrial property rights are mostly hierarchically structured and are used by a large number of IP offices and authorities worldwide.
The International Patent Classification (IPC) is used to classify the technical contents of patent literature. It organises patent and utility model specifications and allows you to perform language-independent searches of these documents by means of classification symbols. The IPC is mapping all fields of technology. It contains 70,000 units (main groups and sub-groups) in which the documents are classified.
Every trade mark is registered for specific areas, the classes of goods or services. For the determination and delimitation of these classes you need the lists of goods and services of the 'Nice Classification'. Some trade marks contain figurative elements or consist exclusively of images. These are categorised separately in the 'Vienna Classification'.
The use of the classifications is indispensable for trade mark searches.
For a design application it is necessary to indicate the products incorporating the design or to which the design is applied. These products are classified in classes and subclasses, listed in the 'Locarno Classification'.
© 2013 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 17/05/13