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USPTO Classification Bulletin
 200201 September 23, 2002

Subject: E-Subclasses (ECLA-Derived Subclasses)

Purpose: To allow integration of European Classifications (ECLA) into USPC classes for enhanced search capability

Effective Date: Immediately

Applicability: All PTO USPC users

E-subclasses, a type of cross-reference collection, are being established in Class 257 and may be established in other USPC classes in the future. E-subclasses are identified with an "E" -- for example, E29.012.

E-subclasses will appear in class schedules after the regular subclasses, and before Digests, Cross-Reference Art Collections, and "FOR" subclasses. E-subclasses correspond in scope to classifications in the ECLA (European Classification) system. The ECLA classification to which an E-Subclass corresponds is referenced in the E-subclass definition.

Some E-subclasses have definitions that describe the scope of the subclass, but many will not. Where these descriptive definitions are absent, documents classified in these E-subclasses should be reviewed to determine the scope of the E-subclass.

E-subclasses will contain documents classified in their corresponding ECLA classification. Where "EPO" is included after the title, the automated Examiner search systems EAST and WEST will be regularly updated with patents from the European Patent Office. In the near future, "JPO" may be added to some E-subclasses to indicate that documents from the Japanese Patent Office are being added.

Domestic patent documents classified in E-subclasses are retrievable by U.S. Patent Classification. Users of EAST or WEST can retrieve foreign patent documents classified in E-subclasses as well.


Harold Smith, Director
Classification Operations

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