Introduction

Date Published

Classification Listings

All major Design Offices, including Australia, classify design applications with reference to the International Design Classification (IDC). The IDC is otherwise known as the Locarno Classification. The Locarno Classification contains 32 classes and additional sub-classes for classification purposes. It provides a general indication as to where a particular product can be classified.

The Australian classification system is modelled largely on the Locarno Classification, but is not a direct reflection of the current version. Locarno Classification is reviewed and updated, and these updates may be considered as part of changes to the Australian classification system. A list of changes applicable to the 10th and 11th edition of Locarno Classification is available. The IDC or Locarno Classification, including alphabetical listings and changes between editions, is accessible on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) website.

The Australian classification system reflects the 32 classes that make up the Locarno Classification. These classes, including an indication of what is classified in each class, can be found in this manual in Part 3 - Classification and on the Australian Designs Search website (see Australian Designs Classification Codes).

The Australian classification system, when compared to the Locarno Classification, does however include further breakdowns in the form of subclasses and sub-subclasses. These may be similar to those used in other countries. For example, whilst Australia reflects the Locarno Classification by including the class 02 (Articles of clothing and haberdashery) and the subclass 02 (02-02, Garments), the Australian system includes further sub-subclasses in the form of 02-02A, 02-02B, 02-02C and 02-02Z which more specifically breakdown items included in the class. Subclasses, sub-subclasses and the Australia classifications, can also be found in Part 3 - Classification, by clicking on a class link as a starting point.

Changes to where products are classified, applicable to different Locarno Classification editions, should be considered when undertaking searches on where products may be classified. See above, list of changes applicable to the 10th and 11th editions of Locarno Classification. Searching by classes (including where the product is currently classified and where it may have been previously classified) and by keywords (including known product name variations, including spelling, for example tyre / tire) should both be taken into account. When a new version of Locarno Classification is adopted under the Australian classification system, this does not result in any re-classification of products that may have been affected. Changes are not made retrospectively to existing applications or registrations.

It is important to note that whether an item meets the definition of ‘product’ under the legislation and whether something can be classified are two different issues. Whilst the Australian classification system refers to the Locarno Classification, just because an item is contained in the Locarno Classification does not mean that the item meets the definition of a ‘product’ under the current Australian legislation.

To the extent that the Australian classification system is inconsistent with the Locarno Classification, the Australian system for classification will prevail.

Generally, a product name should confirm that a product, as defined by s 6 of the Designs Act 2003 (Cth), has been included as part of the design application. A ‘product’ is defined as a thing that is manufactured, or hand made. The overriding requirement will be that the item disclosed in the application is a “product” for the purposes of Australia law.

For further information Applicants may wish to refer to this Designs Examiners Manual at Part 1, 1 regarding classification and Part 1, 7 regarding product names.