Patent Law Updates | New Statutes, Regulations and Rules
October 2, 2012
USPTO and EPO Publish Advance Version of Cooperative Patent Classification System Ahead of January Launch
Cooperative Patent Classification
USPTO No. 12-61, 10/1/2012
The U.S. Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have 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.
The website, www.cpcinfo.org, contains detailed information about the new classification scheme, including downloadable sections of the scheme, CPC definitions and concordances. It also provides information on the progress of the project, offering presentation materials and other useful information for our stakeholders, including other patent offices worldwide, industry and users.
The CPC is a detailed IPC-based patent classification scheme that will enable efficient prior art searches to be conducted. It will incorporate the best classification practices of both the US and European systems. It is also expected to enhance efficiency by supporting work-sharing initiatives designed to reduce unnecessary work duplication.
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