Classification systems - Patents
Patent classifications are intended for classifying inventions and technical solutions according to their belonging to a certain field of technology for the purpose of searching them when conducting various types of patent searches and investigations, e.g. searches for novelty of an invention or technical solution, for determining the state of the art in the relevant field of technology, for patent purity of an invention, etc.
Patent classifications are used by the authorities competent in the field of industrial property as one of the technical bibliographic data for the publication of patent or utility model applications, the disclosure of granted patents or registered utility models or other types of industrial law protection for inventions or technical solutions.
In order to carry out patent searches by field of technology, it is necessary to be familiar with not only the current patent classification systems, but also with older systems whose symbols appear on documents with an earlier issue date or in some databases.
Current patent classification systems
The International Patent Classification (english abbreviation IPC) is used by most countries, including Slovakia. It is issued by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the basis of revisions approved by the Union Committee of Experts of the IPC. More detailed information can be found on the website mentioned in the title link of this paragraph and in the related links.
Cooperative Patent Classification (english abbreviation CPC) has been used by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) since January 1, 2013. It shares a common basis with the IPC, but is more detailed and contains almost three times the number of entries. Together with the IPC, it is also used by the national offices of some European countries in addition to the EPO and the USPTO.
The Japanese patent classification is used by the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Along with this sorting, the Japanese Patent Office also uses the IPC system to classify patent documents.
Legacy patent classification systems
NT or PT
The national patent classification was used in the past by the predecessors of the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic (until approximately the first half of the 1970s) on the basis of the German patent classification DPK. It was gradually replaced by the MPT system from the late 1960s onwards, and for a certain period of time it was used together with the MPT.
The German patent classification was previously used by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) and some other offices of European countries until about the first half of the 1970s). It was gradually replaced by the MPT system from the late 1960s onwards, for a certain period of time it was used together with the MPT.
The English patent classification was used by the UK Intellectual Property Office until the end of 2006. Currently, the UK Office uses only the MPT and CPC systems to classify patent documents.
The European Patent Classification was used by the European Patent Office (EPO) until the end of 2012. It shared a common basis with the MPT, but was more detailed and contained almost twice as many entries. In addition to the EPO, it was also used by the national offices of some European countries alongside the MPT. Since 1 January 2013, the EPO has used the MPT and CPC systems for classifying patent documents.
The US patent classification was used by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) until the end of 2012. Along with this sorting, the USPTO also used the MPT system to classify patent documents. Since January 1, 2013, the USPTO has used the MPT and CPC systems to classify patent documents.