Using the Nice Classification in Canada — Questions and Answers

On this page:

  1. What is the Nice Agreement?
  2. What is the Nice Classification?
  3. What are Nice class headings?
  4. Can I use the Nice class headings to describe the goods or services in my application?
  5. Do I still have to define my goods or services pursuant to paragraph 30(a) of the Trade-marks Act?
  6. Why is Canada adopting Nice Classification now?
  7. Is the Nice Classification mandatory?
  8. Why should I group and classify my goods or services now if it is not mandatory?
  9. What is the advantage of using the pre-approved list of goods or services when filing a new or revised application online?
  10. What if I am uncertain of which class my goods or services would fall under?
  11. How can I describe my goods or services if I cannot find an exact match in the Goods and Services Manual?
  12. What if the Office disagrees with my classification of goods or services?
  13. Can I add classes after my application is filed?
  14. Will the Office class the goods or services in my application for me?
  15. Do I have to pay a fee per Nice class when I file a new application or renew a registration?
  16. Does the Nice Classification ever get updated and amended?
  17. Where can I find more information on Nice Classification?

1. What is the Nice Agreement?

The Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods or Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (Nice Agreement), administered by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), is a multilateral treaty that establishes the Nice Classification for participating countries. It is an international classification used to classify goods or services for the purposes of the registration of trademarks.

2. What is the Nice Classification?

The Nice Classification groups goods and services into 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services. Each class has a heading that provides a general indication to the fields in which a good or service belongs. There are also explanatory notes for the class headings that provide additional information on the types of goods or services that can be included within a specific class.

It is important to note that the Nice Classification does not supersede the Canadian Trade-marks Act and Trade-marks Regulations. Consequently, the provisions for specifying all goods or services in paragraph 30(a) of the Trade-marks Act still apply. Please consult the Goods and Services Manual for examples of acceptable statements of goods or services and their appropriate class.

3. What are Nice class headings?

Nice class headings provide a general indication of the types of goods or services related to each class. View full list of Nice class headings.

4. Can I use the Nice class headings to describe the goods or services in my application?

No. These headings should not be used to identify a particular good or service. The goods or services appearing in the class headings are merely general indications relating to the class to which the goods or services belong to and are not always compliant with paragraph 30(a) of the Trade-marks Act.

The goods or services applied for in an application should be set out in specific ordinary commercial terms pursuant to paragraph 30(a) of the Trade-marks Act. You should provide common names for the goods and services and use wording that is as complete and as specific as possible. We strongly recommend that you consult the Goods and Services Manual as it provides acceptable identifications of many goods and services along with their appropriate Nice class.

5. Do I still have to define my goods or services pursuant to paragraph 30(a) of the Trade-marks Act?

Yes. The Nice Classification only serves to identify a general class of goods or services.

6. Why is Canada adopting Nice Classification now?

CIPO started to accept trademarks applications with goods and services voluntarily grouped according to the Nice Classification on September 28, 2015. Once Canada adheres to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks and the Madrid Protocol, the adoption of Nice Classification will become obligatory.

By implementing the Nice Classification early, CIPO hopes to provide applicants, owners and agents the extra time and opportunity to classify the goods or services for any pending or registered trademarks ahead of time. This way, if your trademark is subject to renewal shortly, or if you wish to register your trademark in other countries using the Madrid Protocol (when this service becomes available), the Nice Classification requirements will already have been met.

7. Is the Nice Classification mandatory?

No, not at this time. In preparation for the coming into force of the amended Trademarks Act, the Office has begun accepting applications where the applicant has provided the classes, on a voluntary basis, for the corresponding goods or services using Nice Classification in accordance with the Nice Agreement. The Nice Classification will be mandatory once Bill C-31 comes into force.

Applications at any stage of the process may be amended to incorporate the Nice classes. In fact, when submitting a revised application, clients are encouraged to use the Goods and Services Manual to help identify the Nice classes for the applied for goods and services.

Owners also have the opportunity to classify the goods or services for existing registrations before they are due for renewal.

8. Why should I group and classify my goods or services now if it is not mandatory?

Once the amended Trademarks Act comes into force, all applicants will be required to class their goods or services according to the Nice Classification. By classifying them now, the trademark registration process, and subsequent renewal process, will be much quicker. Moreover, if you wish to register your trademark in other countries using the Madrid Protocol (when this service becomes available), the goods or services in your application will already have been classified.

9. What is the advantage of using the pre-approved list of goods or services when filing a new or revised application online?

Using the pre-approved list of goods and services when filing a new or revised application ensures that these terms are deemed acceptable by the Office. Therefore, using this list could reduce the need for an Office Action, resulting in faster examination of your application.

10. What if I am uncertain of which class my goods or services would fall under?

If you are filing a new or revised application online and are uncertain under which class to place your goods or services, you may wish to use the pre-approved list of goods and services or the Goods and Services Manual for examples of acceptable statements of goods or services and their appropriate class before you file. If you still remain uncertain, you can simply chose “unknown” in the dropdown menu where you would normally select the appropriate class and enter the goods or services by manually typing them in.

11. How can I describe my goods or services if I cannot find an exact match in the Goods and Services Manual?

The Goods and Services Manual (the Manual) should be the first tool you use to determine the designation of the class for a good or service. While the goods and services contained in the Manual are not exhaustive, the Manual does provide statements that will be accepted without the need for further clarification as well as the appropriate Nice class for these entries. In the event that you cannot find an exact match in the Manual, you may find acceptable entries for similar goods and services. For more guidance regarding classification, see our Examination Manual.

12. What if the Office disagrees with my classification of goods or services?

If the Office disagrees with your classification of goods or services, the examiner will issue a report asking you to re-classify the improperly classed goods or services. If you do not agree with the Office on the appropriate classification, the Office will continue to process the file without the Nice classes.

Since the amended Trademarks Act is not yet in force, provision of Nice classes remains voluntary. Therefore, in the case of a disagreement with the Office, the Nice classes will simply not be entered on file and the trademark application will proceed to advertisement if this is the only outstanding issue at examination.

13. Can I add classes after my application is filed?

Yes. Classes can be added to the application prior to the advertisement of the trademark as long as the statement of goods or services is not broader than the statement of goods or services contained in the application at the time of filing.

For example, Class 6 for metal statues could be amended to include Class 14 for gold statues, as these classes indicate the material composition of the statues and would not broaden the statement of goods.

If the trademark has been advertised in the Trade-marks Journal, additional classes can be added as long as the statement of goods or services is not broader than the statement of goods or services contained in the application at the time of advertisement.

As with any application, make sure that you include all the goods or services with which you intend to use, or have used, your trademark, as you will not be permitted to list additional goods or services after you have filed the application pursuant to rules 31(e) and 32(e) of the Trade-marks Regulations, even if it falls under the same Nice class.

14. Will the Office classify the goods or services in my application for me?

No, the Office will not classify the goods or services for you. You, or your agent, are responsible to classify the goods or services in the application or registration as you are the person who knows the intent of your business better than anyone else.

Please consult the Goods and Services Manual for examples of acceptable statements of goods or services and their appropriate class.

15. Do I have to pay a fee per Nice class when I file a new application or renew a registration?

There is no additional cost associated with classifying the goods or services in your trademark application or registration.

16. Does the Nice classification ever get updated and amended?

Yes. A Committee of Experts reviews the Nice Classification Alphabetical List annually and it is updated the first of January every year. Some entries are added while others are deleted. These changes will be reflected in the Canadian Goods and Services Manual and, as such, this Manual should always be consulted.

17. Where can I find more information on the Nice Classification?

Additional information on the Nice Classification, the Class Headings and Explanatory Notes can be found in our Goods and Services Manual. These Class Headings and Explanatory Notes detail the principles on which the Nice Classes are based. Further information regarding the Nice Agreement and the Nice Classification is available on the World Intellectual Property Office website. You can also contact our Client Service Centre for assistance.

Date modified: