Doing a patent search with the classification number can help patent search professionals find exactly what they are intending to search. In other words, we can say is that if a search is done taking into account the classification number your result will be more accurate, targeted, and exact. However, before you do a classification based patent search it is important to understand the patent classification system of the respective jurisdiction. For example, here, we are considering the United States as the jurisdiction so we will be considering U.S. Patent Classification System (USPC).

This article is aimed at discussing the overview of the U.S. Patent Classification System (USPC) so that users can optimize their patent related searches for accurate, targeted, and better output.

Understanding USPC and Classification Based Patent Search

What is U.S. Patent Classification System (USPC)?

The USPC is a system for organizing all U.S. patent documents and many other technical documents into relatively small collections based on common subject matter. Each subject matter division in the USPC includes a major component called a class and a minor component called a subclass. A class generally delineates one technology from another. Subclasses delineate processes, structural features, and functional features of the subject matter encompassed within the scope of a class. Every class has a unique alphanumeric identifier, as do most subclasses. Classification based patent search

Components of the U.S. Patent Classification System

The Manual of Classification (MOC)- The MOC is an ordered listing of all the valid classifications in the USPC. Classifications are presented in the MOC as class schedules. A class schedule is a listing of all the subclasses in a class in top-to-bottom order of classification precedence, with the most complex and comprehensive subject matter generally at the top of the schedule, and the least complex and comprehensive at the bottom.  Classification based patent search

Classification Data Systems (CDS) – The Classification Data Systems includes databases and automated processes for storing and managing the collections. The database containing information regarding which classifications are assigned to which documents is called the Master Classification File (MCF). The MCF can be queried to identify which documents are in which collections. The MCF is also used to make certain that every U.S. patent document has at least one USPC classification.

The United States Patent Classification Standards and Procedures (USPCLASP)- It is the official guide for conducting a reclassification project, including classifying documents into the USPC, creating new classes and subclasses, and modifying or abolishing existing classes and subclasses. Changes to any standards or practices of the USPC occurring between successive editions of the USPCLASP are reflected in the Classification Bulletins, published periodically by the Office of Patent Classification.

Importance of Classification based Patent Searches-

There are myriad of benefits that a classification based patent search offers to its users, but some of the common are as below:

  • It enables us do a targeted, accurate and narrow patent search.
  • It makes the process of patent search less-cumbersome.
  • It reduces time taken in doing patent search
  • It rules out limitations those are posed by keyword based searches

All we can say is that a classification based patent search is more valuable than other kinds of patent searches like keyword based patent search. However, users need to understand that every patent database has its own way of classifying documents and a user needs to understand the tricks of the trade before going to a full patent search.

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