2. Preclassification (for file routing and distribution)
In order for an application to be allocated correctly, a preclassification must be made. The level of classification at this stage is as general as practicable on the basis of a quick and cursory scrutiny of the document (e.g. the abstract and independent claim or claims). On the other hand, the level is specific enough to avoid the need for any intermediate stage of preclassification before the final allocation.
Classification at this stage is performed using IPC and/or CPC symbols and is indicated on the dossier and in the EPO's in-house electronic tool.
In most cases no further classification is required to enable applications to be distributed to the relevant search divisions. However, where necessary, it falls within the authority of the examiner in charge of the field to arrange for such redistribution in an expedient manner.