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Convenient Pigeon Holes? The Classification of Trade Marks in Historical Perspective

By T. Rose


The Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks was signed on 15 June 1957. It sets out the procedural requirements for the Nice Classification, a system limited in its substantive requirements towards harmonisation. This has directly resulted in differences in its scope and meaning, within the context of national registrations, between States party to, or making use of, the Agreement. The history of classification of trade marks places the origins and gradual conceptualisation of classification alongside the development of substantive trade mark law. The legal analysis on the Nice Agreement, together with the case studies of Mexico, Turkey, Japan, Canada and the UK highlights the differences in its interpretation by economically disparate countries. It is argued that the intended function of trade mark classification has become lost in the translation of the Nice Agreement into diverse legal systems. “But when all has been said, it is not easy in any human activity to lay down a rule so well grounded on reasoned argument that Fortune fails to maintain her rights over it.” 1 Michel De Montaigne (1533-1592

Topics: law, com
Publisher: Bournemouth University
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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