The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have unveiled their new classification system ahead of schedule. The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system is designed to speed the patent granting process for applicants to both agencies.
“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.
As we previously discussed on this IP law blog, the joint patent classification system is based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system and combines the best practices of the USPTO and the EPO. It includes approximately 250,000 classification symbols and aims to greatly improve the efficiency of prior art searches.
As detailed by the USPTO, the CPC definitions will be available for every CPC subclass and contain a description of the technical subject matter covered in the subclass. At the completion of the project, each CPC subclass will have a corresponding CPC definition that will be continuously maintained. The harmonization will help users find the relevant IPC area on which the CPC is based.
Although the system and finalized CPC definitions are now available, the CPC will not officially launch until January 1, 2013. To find out how you or your company may benefit from the new CPC system and other ongoing USPTO initiatives, contact us today by phone or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.
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