Update on Cooperative Patent Classification

It’s a little more than a year away, and it’s going to change patent information in a big way.

What is it?

It’s the Cooperative Patent Classification.

Last week the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched a homepage for the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC). This important milestone denotes progress on this giant and important project that we continue to be excited about.

Read along as we tell you the state of the CPC, why it’s important, and where we’re headed!


The EPO and the USPTO both had press releases trumpeting the launch of the CPC website. My personal favorite quote was from EPO President Benoît Battistelli:

The new classification system not only benefits both offices, it will also make it easier for innovators to use the wealth of information contained in patent documents. It is an important part of our commitment to offering better services to innovators and industry.

From a search perspective, this emphasis is great to hear! Furthermore, looking at the new CPC website, the first listed objective is “Improving patent searching.”

Checking out the timeline/milestones page, we can see that 2012 is going to be a year of accelerated development and action at both the USPTO and EPO. Training will be developed and conducted. IT and support structures will be employed. ECLA will even be frozen in mid 2012. This all leads up to the projected launch of the CPC in January 2013.

Once this happens, many users will be immediately familiar with this new classification. This is due to the fact that the CPC will be based on the current ECLA scheme (not the US Patent Classification). This process looks to capitalize on the organizational benefits of ECLA (which is based on IPC). Pro tip for those looking forward to the CPC: start incorporating ECLA searching into your prior art searches today. Users might also notice that the CPC has ditched the lettering suffixes common to ECLA subclasses.

Fear not: if you have questions about the CPC, you can address them at a number of events or visit the CPC Website’s FAQ page.

What are your thoughts on the impending CPC? Are you excited or nervous? Do you think the EPO and USPTO can complete the project on time? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

Patent Workbench™ from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the update. This is a good idea. However, the USPTO at least is underfunded and cannot currently have a state-of-the-art search feature. I do hope that improves in the near future.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by state of the art search feature, could you explain your opinion? This article is about the upcoming classification reform. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Greetings! I just saw this on the Patently-O website. Was wondering your thoughts. Looks interesting so far although some of the features don’t appear functional — yet!

    http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2011/11/patently-o-bits-bytes-by-lawrence-higgins-1.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PatentlyO+%28Dennis+Crouch%27s+Patently-O%29

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