The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have a new classification system. The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system is designed to speed the patent granting process for applicants to both agencies.
The system is meant to eliminate duplication of work between the two Offices. 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. 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.