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A patent search often starts with a keyword patent search, which is using descriptive terms for the technology. The expected CPC class can also be added to the search query so that the search only will be done in that CPC class. A CPC class is a categorization of the technology of the patent application or issued patent.
You can search within a specific CPC subclass by finding the correct CPC code for said subclass on the Classification Resources Page. Once you have found the correct CPC code, append “.cpc.” to the end of the string and plug it in to the Advanced Search on the Public Patent Search page with the AND boolean operator. This will limit your search to the confines of the subclass that relates to the CPC code you used.
An example of first a keyword search without a CPC class included and then a keyword search with a CPC class to narrow the results is:
(rug AND (skid OR slip)) NEAR10 prevent -- A more advanced search query that uses boolean operators; proximity operators; and parentheses, to search for synonyms of specific phrases, allowing for a wider search overall.
(rug AND (skid OR slip)) NEAR10 prevent AND A47G27/0412.cpc. -- This is the above search with the addition of the A47G 27/0412 CPC subclass of Carpet fasteners; Carpet-expanding devices with the added element of Anti-skid layers. This narrows the search to include rugs for the floor, where other non-useful results may occur such as a bag which is described as made of anti-slip material so it does not slip on a rug. So possibly there was a result for the bag of anti-slip material in the first keyword search without the added CPC class but in the second keyword search with the CPC class added the nonrelevant result is excluded.
In the an example of a search of (rug AND (skid OR slip)) NEAR10 prevent AND A47G27/0412.cpc. There is a search in the A47G 27/0412 CPC subclass of Carpet fasteners; Carpet-expanding devices with the added element of Anti-skid layers.
But there is possibility that you may want to broaden your search within the CPC subclass such as searching A47G 27/04 which covers technologies such as fasteners, buttons, underlays, carpet tiles, and tools for laying carpet.
This can be done with a $ wildcard with a search such as (rug AND (skid OR slip)) NEAR10 prevent AND A47G27/04$.cpc. this will return results for: A47G 27/0406; A47G 27/0412; A47G 27/0418; A47G 27/0425; A47G 27/0431; A47G 27/0437; A47G 27/0443; A47G 27/045; A47G 27/0456; A47G 27/0462; A47G 27/0468; A47G 27/0475; A47G 27/0481; A47G 27/0487; A47G 27/0493. With the extra subclasses included, then the search is broadened.
CPC classes are used to distinguish between different classifications of patents by the type of technology of the patent.
CPC codes have 9 major classifications:
To help further specify and distinguish between products, each class is composed of many subclasses. As an example, CPC Class A is composed of different subclasses like “Agriculture, Food Stuffs/Tobacco, Personal or Domestic Articles, etc.”. Subclasses may also contain even more subclasses within them, as seen with the Agriculture Subclass A01 containing multiple different subclasses for dealing with animals, agricultural machinery, etc. These subclasses are referenced in the actual CPC code with specific strings of letters and numbers that relate to each class and subclass.
A CPC class can be found in two ways:
One way a CPC class can be found is by going to the Classification Resources page on the USPTO Website and plugging in keywords from your patent into the CPC Classifications Text Search. This will produce a list of all CPC class and subclass definitions that contain those specific keywords.
Another way to find CPC class is looking through the outline of the CPC classes. This method of looking through the outline is helpful because you can see how the CPC class and sub classes are organized so a search can be done with a wildcard operator to search multiple subclasses. Additionally when looking through the outline and viewing the descriptive terms used in the CPC classes, those terms might be different from the way one originally would describe the technology and then the terms used in the CPC class can be adopted as a possible way to further search for relevant CPC classes and subclasses.
To broaden your patent search with CPC classes includes the method of doing a search with no keywords. This method includes looking through the outline of the CPC classes and finding a relevant CPC class, and usually a very specific subclass. Then doing an Advanced Search in the Public Patent Search very specific subclass.
For instance you need to look for a pallet with side walls you can search for B65D19/04, which is
Rigid pallets with side walls, e.g. box pallets with bodies moulded or otherwise fabricated in one piece. This search is done is Public Patent Search with B65D19/04.cpc. and nothing else in the search, where the results can be looked through (and many times, just the drawings).
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