Nice Classification says sayōnara to ookonomiyaki and other regional dishes

06 June 2019

This article was originally published by Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), and has been republished with permission.

At the 29th session of the Nice Committee of Experts, Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) raised concerns around the increasing number of Nice Classification proposals to be considered for the Nice Alphabetical List.

In this context, the Committee has been toying with the sensitive topic of streamlining the Nice Alphabetical list to eliminate reference to regional dishes for the last five years. For example: "okonomiyaki [Japanese savoury pancakes]".

As mentioned in last year's blog post Nice Classification in the Age of Globalization, the use of dictionaries to determine marketplace usage has become increasingly important. This year, the Committee agreed that food and beverage terms in classes 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33 must be recognized worldwide and must be defined in either the Oxford English or Larousse dictionaries. 

As a result, while some regional dishes such as "onigiri" and "kimchi" have skyrocketed to international fame and remain in the Nice Alphabetical List, some regional dishes have not. The term "okonomiyaki" is now "savoury pancakes." 

It is important to note that this does not prevent Canadian applicants from using references to regional dishes in their list of goods and services. The Nice Alphabetical List is intended for Nice Classification guidance and does not reflect the acceptability of a good or service worldwide. Each regional office has its own rules and procedures to examine goods and services.

For more on IPIC's discussion on the classification of marijuana at the Nice Committee of Experts, please see our upcoming blog post.


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