Basics of patent classification (CPC)


Start: 05.05.2014
End: 11.07.2014


course, online

Organised by

Working language(s)



This self-paced course aims at getting a deep knowledge of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme. Once successfully completed, participants will be able to correctly classify inventions. The training will be delivered in four phases, during which the participants will work through several self-study e-learning modules. During the course four virtual classroom (VC) sessions will be offered, in which the topics dealt with in the e-learning modules will be summarised and questions answered. The participants will have to pass three tests. Certificates will only be issued to participants who passed all tests at a pass rate of 70%.



(Phase 1) CPC Classification structure: Throughout this phase, users become familiar with the structure of the IPC, focusing on hierarchical levels (from sections to groups) and the structure of the classification (titles, edition/version indicator, notes, references, definitions). At the end users will be able to select the appropriate set of documents with a view to an efficient search, read and interpret titles correctly and be aware of their impact on classification, understand the role of notes, references and definitions and be able to use them, and know how to deal with situations where overlapping classification would be possible/how to identify which groups would have a priority in the allocation of a document.

(Phase 2) Complete classification in CPC: This phase concentrates on aspects relevant to actually classifying the documents, (a) establishing which information within a document, e.g. application or publication is relevant for classification and (b) identifying and allocating information according to their degree of relevance for a given classification (invention information vs. additional information, nature of subject matter, completeness in classification).

(Phase 3) Practical matters and tools:  In this phase, users review  the CPC software tools which had been mentioned in the first phase: their way of functioning, and how they can be used for classification allocation purposes.  Examples and exercises help to become familiar with the CPC sections and subclasses, using the CPC tools.

(Phase 4) The CPC definitions: This phase introduces the CPC definitions and explains why they exist in the first place. The structure of the CPC definitions is discussed in detail, users learn how they can be used for classification and search and how to identify those CPC definitions that are useful for the user's specific technical area.

Estimated working time

1,5 h per VC
2 h per e-learning module
about 30h auxiliary modules
1 h preparation per test

Target groups

Staff of the national offices of the EPO member states

Level of expertise

Entry level


Online training


On completion of the seminar participants will be able to


Participants must have basic notions of classification, and a very good command of English, both orally and in writing.

Technical requirements:

 In order to attend the on-line course participants need a computer with an internet browser and a high-speed broadband internet connection. For the virtual classrooms, the EPO uses Cisco WebEX, so initially some WebEX software will be installed on your computer. Security settings on local Firewalls need to be checked. For more information please see the "VC guidelines for participants" under "Downloads". In order to make full use of the VC sessions, we recommend to use headsets.

Venue details

The on-line course will be hosted on the Internet and accessible 7/24 from 5 May 2014 on. The VC sessions are scheduled as below (change of dates might occur), starting each at 11:00 h CEST:

VC (1): 06.05.2014
VC (2): 27.05.2014
VC (3): 10.06.2014
VC (4): 25.06.2014


European Patent Academy
European Patent Office
Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1
80469 Munich
Tel. +49-89-2399-5256
Fax +49-89-2399-5449

Max. number of participants




Registration deadline

Deadline for registration is over.