The European Patent Office (EPO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance their cooperation in the area of patent classification.

As of January 2014, SIPO will start classifying its newly published invention patent applications in some selected technical fields into the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC). Classification in the CPC in all technical areas should then occur from January 2016.

The CPC was initiated as a joint partnership between the USPTO and the EPO to harmonise their existing classification systems (ECLA and USPC) with a view to moving towards a common classification scheme.

Isabel Unwin (Ansons)