On September 28, 2015, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) began accepting trademark applications in which goods and services are classified according to the Nice Classification system. Nice, as it is known, is a widely adopted international system for grouping goods and services into 45 pre-determined classes. Adoption of the system is a step toward harmonizing Canada's trademark filing system with that of its major trading partners. As we have previously reported, additional changes to Canada's trademark regime will be implemented over the next year and a half.

At this time use of the Nice classification system is voluntary. Grouping goods and services according to Nice is expected to become mandatory in the next year or so, once legislative changes brought about by Bill C-31 come into force.

For the time being, if CIPO does not agree with the classification provided by an applicant, it will not issue a written objection to the classification unless there are other requirements and/or objections to be addressed. As a result, if an applicant elects to use Nice classes, it will be the applicant's responsibility to ensure it has correctly classified its goods and services.

At this time CIPO is not charging class fees. The application filing fee remains fixed at $250 regardless of the number of classes contained in an application. There is speculation that this will change eventually and that Canada will adopt a per class filing fee system (like the United States and other countries).

CIPO has issued a Practice Notice on Nice, which can be found here.

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