In a blog post Successful Transition to the Cooperative Patent Classification System, the USPTO Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino informs of the USPTO's adoption of an international classification scheme and addition of prior art documents from the EPO, China, and Korea:
"On January 1, 2015, the USPTO successfully transitioned to the Cooperative
Patent Classification (CPC) system from the United States Patent Classification
(USPC) system. The CPC is a collaborative venture between the United States
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO),
designed to develop a common, internationally compatible classification system
for technical documents used in the patent granting process. It offers a more
robust and agile classification system for both offices’ user communities and
enables more technical documents to be classified, because the USPTO and EPO
are both entering documents into the system. Since its launch, the USPTO has
successfully issued about 47,000 U.S. patent documents under the CPC.
As we transitioned to the CPC, we made sure to keep patent applicants and
owners updated on the transition process. Leading up to the changeover,
throughout 2013 and 2014, numerous bilateral CPC events were held with external
stakeholders, providing notice that the USPC would become a static document
collection for utility patents after December 2014. Stakeholders may continue
to see a limited number of U.S. patent grants still issuing with USPC symbols
due to allowed applications already in the publication cycle, but the USPTO
will no longer actively assign USPC symbols to issued utility patents. However,
plant and design patents are not covered in the CPC, so they will continue to
be published with USPC symbols.
To facilitate searching for documents, the USPTO’s existing tools have been
modified to provide all users the ability to search documents classified in the
CPC, the USPC (now a static document collection), and the International Patent
Classification (IPC) systems. USPTO examiners are now required to classify and
search using the CPC, and we want our user community to understand that the CPC
will be continuously updated through bilateral revision and reclassification
projects between the USPTO and the EPO. We are also working on creating a
bilateral examiner-focused collaborative environment for discussions,
work-sharing initiatives and training opportunities.
As a leader in the global patent community, the USPTO is dedicated to providing
a quality classification system for employees and stakeholders, and one that is
compatible with the international patent community. Most importantly, we will
ensure that the quality of the classification system remains strong and agile.
The CPC provides a more comprehensive search result set that includes national
documents from China and Korea, as well as several other countries that are
classifying their national documents into the CPC; documents that were not
previously available for viewing or retrieval under the USPC. We intend to keep
the quality of the CPC documents at a high level by helping more countries
classify their national documents into the CPC, and we will continue to work
with the EPO to perform an ongoing number of CPC revision projects.
We welcome your thoughts on the transition from the USPC to the CPC. More
information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the CPC
Copyright © 2015 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.