Through the implementation of CPC, the USPTO and the EPO believe that applicants and the user community will derive many benefits. Once fully implemented, the Offices anticipate CPC will:
The CPC scheme will be aligned with WIPO format and specifications for IPC. The goal is to allow for the potential incorporation of the CPC symbols into the IPC at a later stage if desired. To see how the scheme will look like, you can consult the section Deliverables.
The migration to CPC will mean substantial changes affecting the work of patent examiners. In addition, CPC will change the source of patent classification information for users and stakeholders of the EPO and USPTO.
To ensure a smooth transition, the EPO and USPTO are reaching out to inform and seek input from our user community and examination staff throughout the process.
To address the many details throughout this transition, the Offices are working closely together to establish training and a robust quality management system.
The CPC will be co-owned by the EPO and USPTO. It is envisaged that there will be a multi-year planning system for identifying areas requiring reclassification which will involve examiners from both offices and, once agreed upon, the work will be shared between the two offices.
It is expected that there will be multiple revisions in a year. A multiyear plan will be established beforehand.
It is envisaged that revision will be take place more quickly than is the case with IPC. The exact frequency of revisions is not yet known, but it is most likely that there will be multiple revisions per year. Each version will have a version date.
The EPO and the USPTO have agreed that it will be decided on a case by case basis whether the revised scheme will be published before or after the reclassification work has been completed.
The CPC definitions contain additional information prepared by EPO classification experts in each technical field. In the CPC definitions, explanations on the classification practices are compiled for the technical field concerned. These definitions will be used for training on CPC.
A quality assurance system will be put in place to ensure that the classification symbols allocated by both offices are in accordance with the rules for classification compiled in the CPC scheme and the CPC definitions.
As with ECLA and USPC, CPC will be available in English. There are currently no plans to provide the scheme in other languages.
As CPC will incorporate ICO (In Computer Only) indexing codes and some KW (Keyword) codes, the current 140 000 ECLA entries are expected to grow to some 200.000 entries.
Until now, the EPO has classified the vast majority of US documents into ECLA. These ECLA classification symbols will be converted into CPC symbols. The offices are making a coordinated effort to classify into CPC the remaining US documents that had not been classified into ECLA.