USPTO and EPO Publish Advance Version of Cooperative Patent Classification System Ahead of January Launch

Easier path to patent granting for applicants to both Offices
September 28, 2012
Press Release 12-61

CONTACT: (Media Only) Patrick Ross
or Paul Fucito (571) 272-8400 or
patrick.ross@uspto.gov or paul.fucito@uspto.gov

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) today announced early publication of a classification system meant to speed the patent granting process for applicants to both Offices. The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system and finalized CPC definitions are now available in advance of the January 1, 2013, official launch. The CPC is a joint USPTO-EPO project aimed at developing a common classification system for technical documents in particular patent publications, which will be used by both offices in the patent granting process.

"This is an important milestone for the USPTO and EPO as we continue to eliminate duplication of work between the two Offices," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos.

"The EPO and the USPTO have every reason to be proud of what they have achieved in the remarkably short space of time since the agreement that initiated the project was signed on October 25, 2010," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "In less than two years, we have finalized and published a joint scheme incorporating the best classification practices of both offices, which will align our patent procedures more closely and deliver major efficiency gains. In the process, the CPC will be a stepping stone towards a more general harmonization of the world's patent systems."

The CPC system, which includes approximately 250,000 classification symbols based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system, will enable users to conduct efficient prior art searches and incorporate the best classification practices of both the U.S. and European systems. It will also enhance efficiency through work-sharing initiatives designed to reduce unnecessary duplication of work.

Since October 2010, the USPTO and EPO have worked jointly to develop the CPC. The results of their work are now being made available through a CPC launch package that includes the complete CPC system, any finalized CPC definitions and a CPC-to-IPC concordance.

The CPC definitions will be available for every CPC subclass and contain a description of the technical subject matter covered in the subclass. Eventually, each CPC subclass will have a corresponding CPC definition that will be continuously maintained. The CPC-to-IPC concordance will help users find the relevant IPC area on which the CPC is based.

For more detailed information about the new classification system, including downloadable sections, CPC definitions and concordances, please visit the official CPC website.

For non-press inquiries about CPC, contact Wynn Coggins at (571) 272-1850 or wynn.coggins@uspto.gov.

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