WIPO recently published its note on the upcoming 12th edition of the Nice Classification - confirming the standardised list of goods and services that Madrid signatory registries will work from when examining trade mark specifications. Notably, this new edition contains updated and new example terms for the drafting blockchain and NFT related specifications. 

From 1 January 2023, the Nice Classification will be modified so that:

  • Class 09, which is best known for software goods, will include downloadable digital files authenticated by non-fungible tokens [NFTs], and, downloadable computer software for managing crypto asset transactions using blockchain technology; and
  • Class 42, which includes SaaS, will contain the term mining of crypto assets / cryptomining.

For offices that give applicants a degree of latitude when it comes to customising their specification wording, these additions may not have significant impact. A cursory glance at the EUIPO's classification tool reveals that there are already a number of acceptable harmonised alternatives that can be relied upon by applicants across Classes 09, 36, and 42 in some territories. Also, these updated terms only deal with a rather narrow band of goods and services. They won't be helpful for everyone. 

However, for registries that have a stricter approach to classification, in relation to which it can be helpful to be able to directly transpose a Nice-endorsed term, this latest edition may provide some reassurance to applicants in the tech space.