Searching Using Classification

Date Published

The patent classification system uses language-independent symbols to classify patents and utility models according to the area of technology to which they relate. The classification of patent documents allows systematic administration and retrieval of an enormous number of publications. A search using a granular and comprehensive classification system, such as the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), is more likely to be keyword independent and in certain cases, may be conducted without keywords at all.

The IPC (see International Patent Classification) is used in more than 100 countries for classifying patent documents and IPC symbols can be used as a search query in almost all patent-related databases. The official IPC Publication provided by WIPO can be accessed here.

The CPC (see Cooperative Patent Classification) allows a high precision search over 40 million patent documents, particularly collections of major jurisdictions such as EP, US, WO, GB, DE and FR. The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) is the starting point and primary patent search tool of major patent offices such as the EPO and USPTO. To perform a patent prior art search to an international standard, examiners should conduct their search using the CPC as a primary tool. The CPC scheme and information can be found in the official CPC website or Espacenet.

The Japanese classification system, File Index (FI) and File Forming Terms (F-Terms), allows a high precision search in the Japanese documentation.