The USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO) will launch the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme on January 1, 2013. The CPC effort has been years in the making and aims to harmonize U.S. and European classification of documents, namely patents. The CPC incorporates best practices of existing USPTO and EPO classification systems and is based on the European Classification (ECLA) system. The harmonization should improve searching at the USPTO and EPO by facilitating work sharing, yielding more consistent search results across patent offices, and facilitating the retrieval of documents by examiners at the USPTO and EPO. Patent applicants should correspondingly benefit from Examiners spending less time on searching and more time on substantive examination of applications, all while receiving more consistent search results across patent offices.
For more information about the CPC, visit the official CPC website.