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CPC — A New Patent Classification System

In 2010, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) signed a joint agreement to develop a common classification scheme. This new classification system is known as the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) and is similar in structure to the International Patent Classification (IPC).

The CPC is a harmonization effort between the European classification (ECLA) and US classification systems, although initially based on ECLA. The CPC will be adopted globally by over 45 patent offices and will ultimately provide improved prior art searching for patent examiners and for patent searchers.

The CPC classes will begin appearing in Dialog legacy patent databases in January 2013. The search prefix for CPC will be CP= and will be available for searching in the following Dialog databases:

  • Chinese Patents Fulltext, File 325
  • Derwent World Patents Index®, Files 350, 351, 352
  • European Patents Fulltext, File 348
  • INPADOC/Family and Legal Status, File 345
  • CLAIMS®/U.S. Patents, File 340
  • U.S. Patents Fulltext, File 654
  • WIPO/PCT Patents Fulltext, File 349

More information about the Cooperative Patent Classification system and its development, guidelines about its use, and class definitions can be found at the CPC Website.

DECEMBER 2012

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