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What is the Cooperative Patent Classification system?

The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, in force from 1 January 2013, is a bilateral system which has been jointly developed by the EPO and the USPTO. It combines the best classification practices of the two offices.


How do I enter classification symbols?

Simply enter the code you were given - e.g. H01L21/285 - in the search field and click on "Search". It is also possible to search at various levels in the hierarchy, e.g. H01, H01L, etc.


What do the different buttons mean?

From left to right, the different buttons allow you to customise the browser and select the arrows to display the symbols on the left and the titles on the right, or vice versa; toggle between an indented dot hierarchy and a tree structure; see where IPC texts start and finish (CPC text is highlighted in green); select whether notes and warnings are visible or not; and select whether the revision dates are shown or whether the references are visible and display the CPC 2000 indexing area.


Can I retrieve a classification using keywords?

Yes. You can enter a maximum of ten keywords in English in the search field. You can combine them with Boolean operators or use wildcards such as *, ? and #.


Can I start a new search using the classifications listed?

Yes. Simply click the checkbox next to the classifications you want to search for to copy them into the box "Selected classifications" on the left. The low operator is always selected by default, which means that you will search all entries hierarchically below a certain group. Click on "low" to change the operator to "exact" to get hits confined to that particular subgroup. Click on "Find patents" to start your search with the selected symbols. Click on "Copy to search form" to export the results of a classification search to the Advanced search mask.


Where can I view the description of a particular CPC class?

Click on the CPC symbol to view the details of a particular classification. You can toggle between an indented dot hierarchy and a tree structure by selecting the relevant button.


What is the meaning of the stars in front of the classifications found?

If you have performed a search using keywords, the classification search system takes the results of your search, identifies the classes occurring most frequently in the documents found and lists them in order of relevance (up to a maximum of five stars, most relevant first).


What does the text in brackets mean?

What does the text in brackets mean? The titles of CPC groups which do not exist in the IPC or any CPC-specific text added to the original title of an IPC group are enclosed in curly brackets {...}. Activate the "CPC" button to highlight this text in green.