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Agreement to Simplify International Patent Classification System

31 March 2009

A committee of international experts meeting at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva from March 16 to 20, 2009 agreed to simplify the structure of the international system for classifying patents. Reform of the system, known as the International Patent Classification (IPC) system, will ensure more consistent search results and their wider use by industrial property offices.

The latest series of reforms have resulted in a number of fundamental changes:

  • The IPC structure will be simplified by abolishing the distinction between the core and advanced level from January 2011. Offices currently using the core level will be able to use the main groups in this unified structure. An updated IPC version will be published every year on January 1, with the possibility of a second publication in case of large numbers of modifications;
  • Development of the IPC will be accelerated with the aim of building an integral, unified international patent classification by progressively integrating local classification systems such as the United States Classification, the European Classification (ECLA), and the Japan Patent Office;
  • New working procedures will enhance the use of the e-Forum, through which experts conduct technical consultations in pursuit of greater efficiency and quality of revision work;
  • The current structure of IPC revision work and procedures will continue to be reviewed in 2010 after one year's evaluation.

Source of information:

Picture: WIPO Headquarters in Geneva, villoks on Flickr



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