Patent Classification

Patent classification is a system for organizing all U.S. patent documents and other technical documents into specific technology groupings based on common subject matter. On January 1, 2013, the USPTO moved from using the United States Patent Classification (USPC) system to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, a jointly developed system with the European Patent Office (EPO). CPC has now been adopted by many countries throughout the world.

The Office of International Patent Cooperation (OIPC) Classification Division consists of three support areas created to support CPC policies, practices, and maintenance.  Those areas being:

Classification Standards and Development

Classification Standards and Development (CSD) is responsible for administrating the classification standards and development of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC). CSD supports Technology Centers in developing and maintaining the patent classification systems searched by examiners and other stakeholders. CSD also contributes to the IP5 Working Group on Classification and International Patent Classification (IPC) system to enable searches of unified classification schemes that yield both US and foreign documents.

Classification Editorial Division

Classification Editorial Division (CED) is responsible for publishing revisions to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme.  CED supports internal and external classification stakeholders in modification, organization, and maintenance of the CPC scheme.  CED also updates numerous classification-related reference tools and documents accessible from USPTO’s Internet and intranet sites.

Classification Quality and International Coordination

The Classification Quality and International Coordination (CQIC) division is responsible for ensuring classification quality, formulating classification policy, and developing objective quality assurance metrics. CQIC supports internal and external stakeholders by providing classification training. CQIC also oversees the administration of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) project and works with international partners on classification harmonization.

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