25 October 2021

Solution to the previous challenge

In Brazil, accelerated examination may be linked to the age of the applicant. According to Rule 151 of the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (later amended by Resolution 239/2019), examination can, subject to other conditions being met, be expedited if the applicant is aged 60 or over.

Overcome the language barrier – search with classification symbols

Speed up your search and avoid noise.

Classification systems have been around for thousands of years. You know how it is, as soon as you have a large amount of information or data volumes start to pile up, it's time to start sorting and creating order by splitting up into more manageable parts, so you can find the information you are looking for quickly and easily.

One of the most famous and earliest known examples of a classification system was Aristotle's classification of plants and animals into two groups (taxonomy). This system was replaced in the 18th century by the more detailed taxonomy of renowned naturalist Carl Linnaeus, later known as the "father of taxonomy".

So, just as books in a library are organised using a cataloguing system, patent documents are sorted using an indexing system all of their own. The EPO uses a classification scheme (IPC/CPC) that is divided into eight main sections, plus a Y section for tagging emerging and new technological developments.

Areas of technology

  • A – Human Necessities
  • B – Performing Operations; Transporting
  • C – Chemistry; Metallurgy
  • D – Textiles; Paper
  • E – Fixed ConstructionsF – Mechanical Engineering; Lighting; Heating; Weapons; Blasting Engines or Pumps
  • G – Physics
  • H – Electricity
  • Y – Emerging technologies and technologies spanning IPC sections

The systematic and hierarchical structure becomes more detailed with every subdivision (level):

Divisions Symbol Description
Section A Human necessities
Class A21 Baking; Edible doughs
Subclass A21C Machines or equipment for making or processing doughs; Handling baked articles made from dough
Group A21C/1 Mixing or kneading machines for the preparation of dough
Subgroup A21C/106 with horizontally-mounted missing or kneading tools; Worm (or screw) mixers

Target your search and stay in the right technological field

It's a fact that patent classifications help to overcome language barriers and make it easier to quickly find patent documents in a particular technological field.

Use patent classification symbols to refine your search strategies and avoid unwanted noise in your search results. Take time to browse our Classification search tool and speed up your searches by restricting them to the technological areas that are truly relevant.

In the meantime, here are two examples of sorting and classifying methods found in Espacenet, from analogue indexing in 1866 – classification section Performing operations – Printing (Figure 1) – to a modern-day digital system – Electrical digital data processing (Figure 2).

Figure 1

Figure 1 US51823A from 1866; Classification group B42F17

Figure 2

Figure 2. WO2021045081A1 from 2021; Classification group G06F16

Further information

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