Since the October 25, 2010, agreement to harmonize their separate patent classification schemes, the USPTO (using the USPC classification system) and the European Patent Office (EPO) (using the ECLA classification system) have worked jointly to develop the Cooperative Patent Classification system, or CPC. The CPC, which includes approximately 250,000 classification symbols based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system, will enable users to conduct efficient prior art searches and incorporate the best classification practices of both the U.S. and European systems. It will also enhance efficiency through work-sharing initiatives designed to reduce unnecessary duplication of work.
Ahead of schedule, the results of their collaboration are now being made available through a CPC launch package that includes the complete CPC system, any finalized CPC definitions and a CPC-to-IPC concordance.
The products provided in this package include:
- the complete CPC scheme (in .pdf, .xml);
- 59 final CPC definitions (out of 625) (in .pdf, .xml); and
- an ECLA to CPC to IPC concordance table (in .pdf, .xml, .txt).
The remaining CPC definitions will be released in batches at the beginning of each month as soon as they are finalized. It is anticipated all batches will be completed by early 2013.