International Agreements on Intellectual Property

Locarno Agreement:

 

The Locarno Agreement establishes a classification for industrial designs (the Locarno Classification). The competent offices of the Contracting States must indicate in official documents reflecting the deposit or registration of industrial designs the numbers of the classes and subclasses of the Classification to which the goods incorporating the designs belong. This must also be done in any publication the offices issue in respect of the deposit or registration of industrial designs.

 

The Classification consists of a list of 32 classes and 219 subclasses and an alphabetical list of goods with an indication of the class and subclass to which each product belongs. The latter comprises approximately 7,000 items.

 

A Committee of Experts in which all Contracting States are represented, set up under the Agreement, is entrusted with the task of periodically revising the Classification. The current edition is the ninth, which entered into force on January 1, 2009.

 

The Classification is applied by 52 States party to the Locarno Agreement. The Classification is also applied by the International Bureau of WIPO in the administration of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, and by the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), the Benelux Organisation for Intellectual Property (BOIP) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) of the European Union (EU).

 

The Locarno Agreement, concluded in 1968, was amended in 1979. The Locarno Agreement created a Union, which has an Assembly. Every State that is a member of the Union is a member of the Assembly. Among the most important tasks of the Assembly is the adoption of the biennial program and budget of the Union.

 

The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

 

NICE Agreement:

 

The NICE Agreement establishes a classification of goods and services for the purposes of registering trademarks and service marks (the Nice Classification). The trademark offices of Contracting States must indicate, in official documents and publications in connection with each registration, the numbers of the classes of the Classification to which the goods or services for which the mark is registered belong.

 

The Classification consists of a list of classes – 34 for goods and 11 for services – and an alphabetical list of the goods and services. The latter comprises some 11,000 items. Both lists are amended and supplemented periodically by a Committee of Experts in which all Contracting States are represented. The current edition of the Classification is the tenth, which entered into force on January 1, 2012.

 

Although only 84 States are party to the Nice Agreement, the trademark offices of about 65 additional States, as well as the International Bureau of WIPO, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), the Benelux Organisation for Intellectual Property (BOIP) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) of the European Union (EU), also use the Classification.

 

The NICE Agreement created a Union, which has an Assembly. Every State that is a member of the Union and has adhered to the Stockholm Act or the Geneva Act of the Nice Agreement is a member of the Assembly. Among the most important tasks of the Assembly is the adoption of the biennial program and budget of the Union.

 

The Agreement, concluded in 1957, was revised at Stockholm in 1967 and at Geneva in 1977, and was amended in 1979.

 

The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

 

Strasbourg Agreement:

 

The Strasbourg Agreement establishes the International Patent Classification (IPC) which divides technology into eight sections with approximately 70,000 subdivisions. Classification is indispensable for the retrieval of patent documents in the search for “prior art”. Such retrieval is needed by patent-issuing authorities, potential inventors, research and development units and others concerned with the application or development of technology.

 

The Strasbourg Agreement establishes the International Patent Classification (IPC) which divides technology into eight sections with approximately 70,000 subdivisions. Each subdivision is denoted by a symbol consisting of Arabic numerals and letters of the Latin alphabet.

 

The appropriate IPC symbols are indicated on patent documents (published patent applications and granted patents), of which over 2 million are issued each year. The appropriate symbols are allotted by the national or regional industrial property office that publishes the patent document. For PCT applications, IPC symbols are allotted by the International Searching Authority.

 

Classification is indispensable for the retrieval of patent documents in the search for “prior art”. Such retrieval is needed by patent-issuing authorities, potential inventors, research and development units and others concerned with the application or development of technology.

 

Although only 62 States are party to the Agreement, the IPC is used by the patent offices of more than 100 States, four regional offices and the Secretariat of WIPO in administering the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (1970).

 

In order to keep the IPC up to date, it is continuously revised and a new edition is published each year on January 1.

 

The revision of the IPC is carried out by the IPC Committee of Experts set up under the Agreement. All States party to the Agreement are members of the Committee of Experts.

 

The Strasbourg Agreement created a Union, which has an Assembly. Every State that is a member of the Union is a member of the Assembly. Among the most important tasks of the Assembly is the adoption of the biennial program and budget of the Union.

 

The Agreement – commonly referred to as the IPC Agreement – was concluded in 1971 and amended in 1979. It is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

 

 

Vienna Agreement:

 

The Vienna Agreement establishes a classification (the Vienna Classification) for marks that consist of, or contain, figurative elements. The competent offices of Contracting States must indicate in official documents and publications relating to registrations and renewals of marks the numbers of the categories, divisions and sections of the Classification to which the figurative elements of those marks belong.

 

A Committee of Experts in which all Contracting States are represented, set up under the Agreement, is entrusted with the task of periodically revising the Classification. The current (seventh) edition has been in force since January 1, 2013.

 

The Classification consists of 29 categories, 145 divisions and some 1,700 sections in which the figurative elements of marks are classified.

 

Although only 31 States are party to the Vienna Agreement, the Classification is used by the industrial property offices of at least 30 other States, as well as by the International Bureau of WIPO, the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the Benelux Organisation for Intellectual Property (BOIP) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) of the European Union (EU).

 

The Vienna Agreement created a Union, which has an Assembly. Every State that is a member of the Union is a member of the Assembly. Among the most important tasks of the Assembly is the adoption of the biennial program and budget of the Union.

 

The Vienna Agreement, concluded in 1973, was amended in 1985.

 

The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

Rajin Ahmed

Ph.D. (Fellow), Advocate. Member: Bangladesh Intellectual Property Law Society (BIPLS). Member: Society for Information and Research on Business Intellectual Inventions (SIRBII). Associate: Intellectual Property Association of Bangladesh

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