Improving patent searching

The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) is a joint endeavour of the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to harmonize their classification systems (ECLA and USPC respectively) into a single system having a similar structure to the International Patent Classification (IPC) administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, and is the only patent classification system used by all patent offices. The jointly developed classification system will be more detailed than the IPC to improve patent searching.

Sharing resources

By having a joint classification system between the EPO and the USPTO, the maintenance of the scheme will also be collaborative. In this way resources will be shared in order to classify documents, to revise the scheme when necessary and to subsequently reclassify documents.