Last updated: 
6 October 2020

Designs are classified to make searching for similar types of products more efficient.

When we receive your application, we will classify it based on the purpose of the product shown.

Locarno Classification

All major Design Offices (including Australia) classify design applications with reference to the International Design Classification (IDC). The IDC is also called the Locarno Classification.

View the Locarno Classification Codes we use in Australia.

Classes, sub-classes and sub-sub-classes

The Locarno Classification has 32 classes. Many of these are further divided into sub-classes. In Australia we use additional sub-sub-classes for a more granular search.

Classification codes and sub-codes are shown as two sets of two-digit number separated by a hyphen. For example, 05-06.

Sub-sub-classes are shown with a letter. For example, 05-06A.

Let's illustrate how we classify products with some examples. Your product is a swimsuit. This would be assigned the classification code: 02-02A.

  • 02 is the class assigned to articles of clothing and haberdashery
  • 02 is the sub-class assigned to garments
  • A is the sub-sub-class assigned to swimsuits, swimming and bathing costumes

Your product is a snare drum. This would be assigned the classification code: 17-04.

  • 17 is the class assigned to musical instruments
  • 04 is the sub-class assigned to percussion instruments
  • There is no relevant sub-sub-class for this product

Product names

A product name is a brief description of the product in the application. Every application must include a product name. A clear and concise product name allows us to classify your product into one Locarno class. It should:

  • match the representations shown in the application
  • only describe the nature of the product. It should not describe how your product works, what it is made from, or the brand name it will be called.

If your product has more than one genuine purpose it may be allocated more than one Locarno Classification code.

Unclear product names

If your product name is unclear, we will ask you for more information.

Unclear product names can:

  • cause delays in processing your application
  • create difficulties in protecting your design as the scope of the design may not be clear
  • create issues for the public in understanding the protection you seek
  • make it harder for others to find your design when searching our database

Let’s illustrate this with an example. Your product is a container. The product name ‘container’ can be classified in more than one Locarno class/sub-class depending on what type of container it is. For example:

  • product name: cutlery container, Classification code: 07-07
  • product name: egg container, Classification code: 09-03
  • product name: medical fluid-collection container, Classification code: 24-02

We may ask you to clarify the nature of your container. This can potentially delay the progress of your application. If you have any questions about selecting a product name, you can contact us.

More than one design in a single application

The most common way to apply for more than one design is by filing each as a separate application.

However, it is possible to apply for more than one design within a single application. You can only apply for more than one design in a single application if each product can be categorised in the same Locarno class. While the class must be the same, the sub-classes or sub-sub-classes can be different.

Learn more about applying for more than one design in a single application.