On September 28, 2015, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) began accepting trademark applications with goods and services grouped according to the Nice Classification.  What does this mean?

An applicant applies for a trademark with respect to certain goods and/or services.  The Nice Classifications group goods and services under general headings which are meant to provide a broad idea of the nature of the goods and services contained in the class.  For example, musical instruments fall under class 15.  The explanatory notes for this class indicate that this class includes mechanical pianos and their accessories but does not include apparatus for the recording, amplification and reproduction of sound (which would fall under another class).

Although it is not at this time mandatory to provide the classes as part of an application, it will be in the future (when the amendments to the Trademarks Act come into force).  It is noteworthy that CIPO is allowing the amendment of applications at any stage of the process to incorporate the Nice classes and is giving owners the option of classifying their goods or services for existing registrations before they are due for renewal.

Why? CIPO writes “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 mark in other countries using the Madrid Protocol (when this services becomes available), the goods or services in your application will already have been classified.”

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