January 16, 2013
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) recently announced the formal launch of a common patent classification system, known as the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system. This new system is expected to be used by the more than 45 other patent offices worldwide that had been using the previous classification system of either the USPTO or the EPO.
The USPTO has been working with the EPO and other international search authorities on this new classification system since 2010. USPTO Director David Kappos had earlier stated his intent to modify the U.S. patent classification system to make it more compatible with the international classification system used in other patent offices. The objectives of the CPC include the reduction in searching efforts among different patent offices, promotion of work-sharing among the participating patent offices, reduction of costs and pendency, and promotion of consistency among the participating patent offices.
To facilitate transition to the new system, the EPO will be providing documentation for each technical field that will explain how the classification of documents in that specific field is done. There are also plans to provide remote training to users early this year.