Locarno Classification System

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The Locarno Classification is an international classification system for industrial designs. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).[1]

A hierarchical schedule of the Locarno classes can be found on the WIPO website.

The Locarno Classification is based on a multilateral treaty administered by WIPO. [2] This treaty is called the Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs, which was concluded in 1968. The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. As of May 1, 2007, 49 countries were party to the Locarno agreement.

The trademark offices of the contracting States of the Locarno Agreement are required to include in the official documents the registration of industrial designs the Locarno classes and subclasses into which the goods incorporating the designs belong. They must do the same in any publication which the offices issue regarding the deposit or registration.

The Locarno Classification comprises a list of 32 classes and 223 subclasses with explanatory notes and an alphabetical list of goods in which industrial designs are incorporated, with an indication of the classes and subclasses into which they fall. This list contains some 6,831 indications of different kinds of goods.

The existence and use of the Locarno Classification system brings with it the advantages of having an industrial design-specific classification system. This makes industrial design searches much simpler both on the national and international level. Also, since Locarno is an internationally recognized system, it prevents the need for reclassification when documents are exchanged internationally.

A Locarno International Classification designation consists of two pairs of numbers separated by a hyphen. The first pair of numbers designates a design class; the second pair of numbers indicates a particular subclass within the design class. The Locarno Classification manual, available from WIPO, delineates the individual classes and subclasses and includes: (1) a general list of classes of industrial designs divided into broad subclasses; and (2) an alphabetical list of specific industrial designs with an indication of the classes and subclasses into which they should be classified.

United States (U.S.) design patents prepared for issue after June 30, 1996 include a Locarno International Classification designation as part of the bibliographic data.[3] See the image below for an example of a Locarno Classification designation as it appears on a U.S. Design Patent.

The Locarno Classification designation on the face of a U.S. Design Patent


In order to keep the Locarno Classification up to date, it is continuously revised and a new edition is published every five years. The current (eighth) edition has been in force since January 1, 2004. The revision is carried out by a Committee of Experts set under the Locarno Agreement. All States party to the Agreement are members of the Committee of Experts.

Official Published Locarno Classification

The updated official published Locarno Classification can be obtained from WIPO:
World Intellectual Property Organization
Marketing and Distribution Section
Case postale 18
CH-1211 Geneva 20

34, chemin des Colombettes
CH-1211 Geneva 20

Telephone: (41) (22) 338 9111
Fax: (41) (22) 740 1812, 733 5428
E-mail: publications.mail@wipo.int
E-bookshop: http://www.wipo.int/ebookshop


  1. "International Classification for Industrial Designs under the Locarno Agreement." WIPO, http://www.wipo.int/classifications/locarno/en/. Accessed on November 13, 2008.
  2. "Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs." WIPO, http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/classification/locarno/. Accessed on November 13, 2008.
  3. "903.09(a) Locarno Classification Desig-nations [R-5] – 900 Prior Art, Classification, and Search." USPTO, http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/0900_903_09_a.htm. Accessed on November 13, 2008.

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