Classification at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the process of assigning a patent application to an appropriate art unit based on the subject matter of the invention described in the application. The USPTO uses the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, which is a joint project of the USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO), to classify patent applications.
The CPC system classifies patents into groups and subgroups based on the technical field of the invention. Each group and subgroup corresponds to a particular art unit at the USPTO. The CPC system is updated regularly to reflect advances in technology and changes in the patent landscape.
To classify a patent application, the USPTO uses a combination of automated tools and human expertise. Automated tools, such as text classification algorithms, can identify the technical field of the invention based on the text of the application. However, human examiners also play a key role in the classification process, as they review the application and ensure that it is properly classified based on its subject matter.
Several factors are involved in how classification works at the USPTO. These include the ECLA (Easy Cooperative Patent Classification) system, the target drafting method, and the impact of radical innovations. These factors are discussed in this article.
Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme
Using Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) can be a useful tool in your patent searching efforts. CPC was designed to provide a modern system for classifying documents and to improve navigation for examiners.
The Cooperative Patent Classification system is divided into nine different categories. The first step in classifying a document in CPC is to identify the subject matter. The second step is to determine which groups in CPC are applicable.
Each category is broken down into subclasses. These subclasses are organized into nine groups, each consisting of a subcategory and a class. Often, a subcategory is accompanied by a glossary of terms. These terms are definitions, technical literature, or other important words. They are listed in the synonyms and keywords section and can be used as an aid in formulating search queries in an electronic search.
Combination sets are a special kind of classification system in CPC. These combine CPC symbols into a grouping of symbols, such as a product or method of manufacture. They are most often found in the chemical and electrical fields. But they can also be used in other fields.
During the transition period between USPC and CPC, the USPTO and EPO conducted training on the use of CPC symbols. The two offices agreed to migrate toward a common classification scheme. This allows the two offices to share resources more efficiently. They will maintain the same database, while synchronizing their file services on a regular basis.
Both offices will work together on maintenance and revisions of the CPC system. These revisions will be aligned with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s classification standards. This should lead to more consistent search results across patent offices.
Until January 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office used the United States Patent Classification (USPC) system. In October 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) agreed to work together in developing a new patent classification system.
This new classification system, known as Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), is based on the European Classification System (ECLA) and the International Patent Classification (IPC) systems. The system will harmonize the United States and European patent classification systems.
Both the USPTO and the EPO have invested significant amounts of time and resources in their existing classification systems. The joint classification system is intended to enhance efficiency by allowing these offices to share resources and classify documents more effectively. In addition, the joint system will be aligned with the World Intellectual Property Organization classification standards.
The USPTO will be able to use the best practices of the IPC and ECLA systems to develop the joint classification scheme. The EPO will also contribute to the development of the joint classification system. This will allow the USPTO to better utilize the resources of the EPO.
The new joint classification system will be developed with a multi-year planning process. This will provide opportunities to determine areas where a more comprehensive or updated classification system is needed. This should help the examiners of both offices to more efficiently share their classification tools and search results.
The USPTO will be implementing CPC in parallel with its existing USPC system for two years. This will provide an up-to-date classification scheme for US published applications. It will also be a significant change to the way that US examiners do their work. As part of this transition, examiners will receive training on the CPC system.
Classification at the USPTO is a critical process that helps ensure that patent applications are assigned to the appropriate art unit for examination. By using a combination of automated tools and human expertise, the USPTO is able to accurately classify patent applications and provide high-quality examination services to applicants.
Art unit to which an application is assigned
Identifying the Art unit to which an application is assigned at the USPTO can be a key step in maximizing the chances of a patent grant. There are many factors that will influence the assignment. In general, claim language and the technological field are likely to be major factors.
If the applicant can identify the correct art unit to which their application is assigned, it can help avoid prosecution landmines and maximize the chances of success. In addition, knowing what is expected from the examiner will help the applicant write better applications. Using an art unit predictor tool is an effective way to increase the predictability of the patent assignment process at the USPTO.
Art units are organizational units for subclasses within the United States Patent Classification system. Each unit has a number of patent examiners. Generally, similar applications will be assigned to the same art units. The USPTO has stated that it will continue to automate its patent assignment process.
A patent application is sent to the Office of Patent Application Processing, which then routes it to an art unit. During this process, the application is assigned to classes and subclasses. The class and subclasses are arranged in numerical order by class number. Alternatively, the application may be assigned to another art unit.
The Office of Patent Application Processing assigns provisional and nonprovisional applications. Applications filed before November 2007 are assigned to art unit 3679. Similarly, applications filed on or before January 1, 2008 are assigned to art unit 3672.
In recent years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has stated that it will automate more of its patent assignment process. Earlier, the process was a manual one.
Impact of radical innovations
Considering the exponential growth of the USPTO over the last fifty years, it is not surprising that the number of patents registered at the USPTO has increased dramatically. It is also not surprising that inventors from Italy have a pronounced interest in applying for patents in the US. In fact, Italian inventors have contributed to eighty-three thousand patents deposited at the USPTO.
The number of patents registered at the USPTO is not the only measure of the impact of radical innovations. For example, it is not surprising that the number of R&D expenditures shows positive significance. However, the contribution of this factor to the overall production of patents is inconclusive.
An important aspect in regional innovation is the structure of knowledge networks. A wider range of diverse activities and interactions may increase the opportunity for innovation cascades. Similarly, co-localisation of firms may promote innovations in the region because they are better able to appreciate the benefits of reduced costs.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) launched a new paradigm in science and medicine. Gene sequencing technology has had important effects on the pharmaceutical industry. It has also had a significant impact on agriculture and health services.
Another observable phenomenon is the development of inventors’ networks. An increasing number of studies have focused on the structure of these networks in US cities. Several authors have studied social proximity in inventors’ networks. The agglomeration effect of inventors is expected to increase the number of breakthrough inventions.
Other studies have explored various mechanisms by which radical innovations are generated. For example, the creation of an innovative combination of complementary technologies is one such mechanism. It has been shown that combinations of technologies from related domains produce more radical innovations than those from unrelated domains.