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Archived updates for Tuesday, August 09, 2005

IPC Eighth Edition Now Available

The eighth edition of the International Patent Classification (IPC) is now available in English and French language versions at The new edition will enter into force on January 1, 2006. From that date all published patent documents will be classified according to that edition.

The International Patent Classification (IPC) has was developed under the 1975 Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification as a system for classification, and later retrieval, of patent documents. It is used by the industrial property offices of more than 100 states, four regional offices and WIPO under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The new (eighth) edition is the product of a 6-year process of reform designed to adapt the IPC to the electronic environment for improved efficiency in retrieval of patent information and to facilitate its use by industrial property offices and the general public.

Over 1,400 new entries have been introduced to the lates edition of the IPC, along with a number of other more fundamental changes:
  • The IPC has been divided into two levels – the core and advanced levels – to better satisfy the differing needs of industrial property offices, both large and small, and the general public;
  • An electronic layer has been created to include data to illustrate IPC entries and provide detailed explanations including definitions of classification entries and structural chemical formulae;
  • The principle of reclassification of search files has been introduced to ensure that only the most recent version of the IPC is used when undertaking a patent information search;
    A Master Classification Database has been established which will contain a global collection of patent documents classified according to the most recent version of the IPC; and
  • One new class and five new subclasses relating to new technologies have also been created.

The complete text of the eighth edition, in English and French, is available from the Internet ( The printed version of the core level of the IPC is available from WIPO (please see for further information). Additional IPC-related material, such as Catchword Indexes to the IPC, the Revision Concordance List and the new version of the IPC:CLASS CD-ROM will be published later in the year.

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