Everybody who ever conducted patent litterature searches knows the problems arising from the very different criteria for classifying patents in the respective patent classification systems used in Europe by the EPO, ECLA (European CLAssification), and in the USA by the USPTO, USPC (US Patent Classification. Fortunately the solution is nearby!
The EPO and the USPTO have very recently announced a cooperation to harmonize their patent classification systems. Cooperative Patent Classification (in short CPC) is the name, and the game is an effort of harmonization to bring the best practices from the EPO and the USPTO together to form a common classification scheme.
According to the CPC website, http://www.cooperativepatentclassification.org/index.html, the CPC will be developed based for a large part on the ECLA and will be modified to ensure compliance with the International Patent Classification system (IPC) standards administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The CPC is intended launched on 1 January 2013, and the Awapatent IP Blog will monitor the development with interest to keep our readers updated.
Troels Peter Rørdam, European Patent Attorney & Certified Danish Patent Agent