What is the CPC?

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This week, for our “Patents world” section we are going to discover and answer the following question: “What is the CPC, Cooperative Patent Classification?”.

CPC is the acronym for “Cooperative Patent Classification System”. In order to go a little deeper into the question and helping better understand the matter, we are going to propose a very useful and interesting video developed by the EPO (European Patent Office).

Basically, the CPC is a new cooperation project started in 2010 and which came in to force officially in 2013. It is a new patent classification system developed jointly by the EPO (European Patent Office) and the USPTO whom objective is to create a common system for the classification of technical records, especially patents, in order to harmonize the exchange of work between the two organizations and to enable patent examiners and patent system users worldwide to conduct more efficient searches.

The CPC scheme is based on:

  • IPC system (International Patent Classification), which classifies the technical content of patent documents
  • ECLA classification system, a more detailed extension of IPC

The only public browser for CPC is in Espacenet. The principle of searching is the same, but there are several differences between the new CPC browser and the old ECLA:

  • The 170.000 ECLA symbols have been replaced by around 250.000 CPC symbols.
  • The new CPC browser interface offers many more options and shows much more information.
  • In the old ECLA browser there were two import boxes (one to enter classification symbols and another to enter free text), in the new CPC these two boxes have been fused into one.
  • The CPC browser is fully customizable.

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