Using the Nice Classification in Canada — Questions and Answers

From: Canadian Intellectual Property Office

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(2)(a) of the Trademarks Act and section 29 of the Trademarks Regulations?
  6. Is the Nice Classification mandatory?
  7. What is the advantage of using the pre-approved list of goods or services when filing a new or revised application online?
  8. What if I am uncertain of which class my goods or services would fall under?
  9. How can I describe my goods or services if I cannot find an exact match in the Goods and Services Manual?
  10. What if the Office disagrees with my classification of goods or services?
  11. Can I add classes after my application is filed?
  12. Will the Office class the goods or services in my application for me?
  13. Do I have to pay a fee per Nice class when I file a new application or renew a registration?
  14. Does the Nice Classification ever get updated and amended?
  15. 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 registering trademarks.

2. What is the Nice Classification?

The Nice Classification means the classification established by the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks, signed at Nice on June 15, 1957, including any amendments, modifications and revisions made from time to time to which Canada is a party.

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 Trademarks Act and Trademarks Regulations. Consequently, the provisions for specifying all goods or services in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the Trademarks Act and section 29 of the Trademarks Regulations 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(2)(a) of the Trademarks Act and section 29 of the Trademarks Regulations.

The goods or services listed in an application should be set out in ordinary commercial terms pursuant to paragraph 30(2)(a) of the Trademarks Act and in a manner that identifies a specific good or service in accordance with section 29 of the Trademarks Regulations.

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(2)(a) of the Trademarks Act and section 29 of the Trademarks Regulations?

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

6. Is the Nice Classification mandatory?

Yes. In accordance with the Trademarks Act all of the goods and services in the application must be grouped according to the classes of the Nice Classification

Owners will also have to group the goods or services according to the Nice Classification for registrations when they are renewed.

7. 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 amended 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.

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

If you are filing a new or amended application and are uncertain under which Nice class to list the 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 consult the class headings of the Nice Classification and the Explanatory notes.

9. 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 should be the first tool you use to determine the Nice class for a particular 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 Nice classification, see our Examination Manual.

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

If the Office disagrees with the classification of goods or services, the examiner will issue an examiner’s report asking you to re-classify the improperly classed goods or services and providing an explanation as to why the classification information as provided to the Office was not acceptable.

11. Can I add Nice 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 “precious metal statues”, as this class further specifies the material composition of the “metal statues” and would not broaden the statement of goods.

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

No, the Office will not group the goods or services according to the classes of the Nice Classification for you. You, or your agent, are responsible for classifying 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.

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

There are no additional fees associated with classifying the goods or services according to the Nice Classification for applications filed before June 17, 2019. However, the goods and services must be properly grouped and classed according to the classes of the Nice Classification in order for your application to proceed to advertisement.

For applications filed on or after June 17, 2019, the new application fee of $330 (if filed online) or $430 (if filed by way of paper) includes the first class of goods or services contained in the application. The fee for each additional class is $100 and, if applicable, is required in order for the application to proceed to advertisement.

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

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

15. 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.

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