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What Are The Different Classification Codes?

Classification codes are a type of categorization for patents which are used to classify the contents of a patent in a uniform manner. There are various different types of classification codes that are used which are used for different kind of patents and in some cases are jurisdiction-specific.

Here is a list of the classification codes that you can search by within PatSnap:

  • International Patent Classification (IPC) - This is used in over 100 countries and is administered by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). Within PatSnap, you are also able to search by Main IPC which will always be the first IPC mentioned on the patent. For example on the image below the main IPC is B61D7/00 and the other IPCs mentioned which are not the main IPCs are B61D7/32 and B65G53/04:

    You can find out more about IPCs here: What is an IPC and why is it important to my search?

  • Cooperative Classification (CPC) - This is used in 39 countries and is administered in a joint collaboration between the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 
  • Locarno Classification (LOC) - This is used in over 100 countries and like IPCs it is administered by the WIPO. The way that it is different to IPCs is that it is specifically used for design patents.
  • United States Patent Classification (UPC) - This was a classification that was previously used for American patents only but has now been replaced by CPC where that came into place at the start of 2013.
  • File Index (FI) - This is a classification that is specific to Japanese patents. This is a sub-division of IPC that consists of IPC groups and IPC-based subdivisions 
  • File-Forming Term (F-Term) - Like FI, this classification is specific to Japanese patents. This is a development of FI which was developed to accommodate computer-based searching.


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