International Patent Classification (IPC)

The technical content of patent documents is classified using the International Patent Classification system.

The publishing office assigns an IPC symbol valid at the time that the application is published. The IPC text can be found on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The IPC classification symbols displayed in the European Patent Register are those that appear on the printed publication.

In the International Patent Classification (IPC) field the default operator is AND.

IPC classification symbols are made up of a letter denoting the IPC section (e.g. A), followed by a number (two digits) denoting the IPC class (e.g. A63), and a letter denoting the IPC subclass (e.g. A63B). A number (variable, 1-3 digits) denotes the IPC main group (e.g. A63B49). This is followed by a forward slash "/" and a number (variable, 1-3 digits) denoting the IPC subgroup (e.g. A63B49/02).

You do not need to use wildcards for the first three levels of the classification scheme, e.g. B65 (class level), B65D (subclass level), B65D81 (main group level), as the data is already auto-truncated. In other words, you only need to enter these levels as they stand to search for results down to subgroup level.

Auto-truncation does not provide results at subgroup level with one digit, e.g. B65D81/3. For classifications entered at subgroup level with two digits, e.g. and B65D81/32, auto-truncation is not activated, instead the Register searches for a direct result (hit) only. You can still search for classifications with one digit at subgroup level by using the field identifier ic with an asterisk *, e.g. H03K17/2*. Truncation with the wildcard ? in combination with the field identifier ic is also allowed at any level, e.g. H03K17?, H03K17/2?, H03K17/68?.