7.2. Classification: Classification systems

Date Published

Australia uses a system of classification based on the International Classification For Industrial Designs (known also as the Locarno classification system because it is based on the Locarno Agreement).

Australia is not a party to the Locarno Agreement but IP Australia still uses the system to classify designs as much as possible within Australian legislative requirements and restrictions.

Classes, subclasses and sub-subclasses

The Locarno classification system (12th edition) has 32 classes. Most of those classes are divided into subclasses.

Australia divides those subclasses further into sub-subclasses based on the specific function or purpose of the product (see Code structure – example below).

Finding the classification codes

The Locarno Classification is on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) website. It contains class and sub-class lists, alphabetical listings of products and explanatory notes and general remarks about the system and why products are classified where they are. It should be remembered though that there are differences between our classification system and Locarno, and where there are inconsistencies, the Australian system for classification will prevail.  

See Australian Designs Classification System for a list of Australian classification codes. A class heading summary is provided which offers a single page snapshot of what each class contains. Also included are summaries of classification changes that have occurred when newer versions of the Locarno classification system have been released.

Code structure – example

Class 05-06A

Class 05 of the Locarno classification is for textile piece goods, artificial and natural sheet material.

Subclass 06 of the Locarno classification is for artificial and natural sheet material.

Sub-subclass A (in Australia) is for wallpaper.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended