USPTO and EPO Announce Launch of Cooperative Patent Classification System


[author: Donald Zuhn]

USPTO SealLast month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Office announced the publication of an advanced version of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme and some final CPC definitions ahead of the CPC's official launch on January 1, 2013.  The CPC is a detailed classification system that includes approximately 250,000 classification symbols based on the International Patent Classification (IPC), which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  The new classification system, which incorporates the best classification practices of both the U.S. and European systems, will enable efficient prior art searches to be conducted and is also expected to enhance efficiency by supporting work-sharing initiatives designed to reduce unnecessary work duplication.  The joint effort to develop a joint patent classification system was first announced in October 2010 (see "USPTO and EPO to Develop Joint Patent Classification System").

EPOThe two offices noted that the CPC launch package includes the complete CPC scheme, 59 of the 625 final CPC definitions, and a CPC-to-IPC concordance.  CPC definitions will be available for every CPC subclass and contain a description of the technical subject matter covered in the subclass.  The CPC website can be found here.

EPO President Benoît Battistelli discussed the CPC launch on his blog at the EPO website.  Patent Docs readers may recall that USPTO Director David Kappos posted a list of twelve reasons why the USPTO is moving to the CPC on his blog earlier this year.

For additional information regarding the launch, please see:

• USPTO press release, September 28, 2012
• EPO press release, October 1, 2012

For additional information regarding this topic, please see:

• "USPTO Takes Next Step Towards Cooperative Patent Classification System," June 25, 2012
• "USPTO and EPO Launch Patent Classification Website," October 26, 2011
• "USPTO and EPO Agree to Principles of Joint Patent Classification System," February 14, 2011
• "USPTO and EPO to Develop Joint Patent Classification System," October 25, 2010


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