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Patent Classification System

Written by Jane Coyle on 20 May 2008

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The UKIPO classify UK patent applications by their technical content. There are several patent classification schemes that can be used and currently they apply the International Patent Classification (IPC) to all applications. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) maintains the International Patent Classification (IPC). The IPC is represented as a collection of alphanumeric codes. Each code refers to different types of technical information. Each patent document we publish will have at least one IPC code applied to it. The European Patent Office (EPO) and other patent offices worldwide also use it to classify their own patent. Another classification scheme is ECLA which is maintained by the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO apply ECLA to their applications and also to documents from other patent offices (including the UK-IPO) which they include in their databases.Other patent granting authorities also maintain their own classification schemes. These include the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO).

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