Joyous news from Geneva! The IPKat has just been perusing an exciting Press Release from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) entitled "Agreement to Simplify International Patent Classification System". A closer reading caused a slight diminution in the Kat's joy when he realised that the agreement relates to something that is going to be done in the future, not something that has already been agreed. Still, it's welcome news.
Right: WIPO is now using HyperLynx to help link related IPC classes
A quick explanation may be appreciated by newcomers and/or IP enthusiasts whose familiarity with patents may not yet match that of other areas of IP. As the Press Release succinctly states:
"The IPC system divides all fields of technology into hierarchical sets of sections, classes, subclasses and groups. It is an indispensable tool for industrial property offices, in conducting searches to establish the novelty of an invention, or to determine the state of the art in a particular area of technology. The IPC is also used by industry to search competitors’ patents and to find technological information to aid research and development".The International Patent Classification System (IPC) has been through a few revisions in its time, but it's not what you'd call an easy read. According to the Press Release
The Committee of Experts will report on its progress this coming September. The Kat, with whiskers a-quiver, awaits in rapt expectation. Merpel says, this might be a simplification, but it sounds like quite a complex simplification to me.
" The IPC structure will be simplified by abolishing the distinction between the core and advanced level from January 2010. 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 FI/F Term under new working procedures;
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".
More on the IPC here
Classification of cats here