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UPC: United States Patent Classification

UPC stands for United States Patent Classification and is an additional categorization system for US patents. Like IPC, CPC and other classification systems, UPC is used to group and classify patents in an orderly manner.

It is a hierarchical system made up of numbers and based on a two-level structure “Class/Subclass”. The class will allow identification of the technology area of the subject matter while the subclass takes into account process, structural and functional features related to the technology area encompassed within the Class.


Even though UPC has a similar structure to IPC system, there are some key differences reported in the below table.





Jurisdiction coverage

Worldwide system

American system

Grouping methodology

Based on 8 different application areas

Based on 3 main technology areas



More than one classification system can be allocated to one patent, therefore the necessity for the USPTO of a concordance table for the IPC and UPC.





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