Welcome to the new version of the Patents Manual. Please note there are changes to the numbering and sequence of the chapters and pages in the manual. You are encouraged to take the time to explore and familiarise yourself with this new structure.

4.2.1 Patent Classification Systems

Date Published

The three main classification systems in the world include the International Patent Classification (IPC), and two systems based on the IPC, including the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) and the Japanese classification system, FI/F-terms. The IPC 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 CPC allows a high precision search over 40 million patent documents, particularly collections of major jurisdictions such as EP, US, WO, GB, DE and FR. Similarly, the Japanese classification system, FI/F-terms, allows a high precision search but only in the Japanese documentation.

In IP Australia, patent classification is based on the IPC and the CPC. The process serves important purposes, including retrieving patent documents, facilitating work distribution via arranging patent documents into technological groups and providing a basis for investigating the state of the art in a technological field. Each examination section is responsible for a number of IPC subclasses (see IPC Sub-Class and Examination Sections).

The Official IPC Publication provided by WIPO can be found here.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

Publish from Draft

Back to top