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Step 4 - Find The Relevant International Patent Classification (IPC) In Conducting a Search For Patents

When you search for patents is it important to know that the IPC is a hierarchical patent classification system administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Furthermore, it is important every patent application or patent is classified into relevant classes and their IPC codes are displayed on their cover page.

Figure 4 is a typical cover page of a patent document displaying the IPC codes, when you search for patents. The cover page 5 also provides other useful information such as the inventors, application number, publication number, filing date, publication date, title and abstract.



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Figure 4: The cover page of a patent document displaying the relevant IPC code (circled).

Alternatively when you conduct a search for patents, as shown in Figure 5, the IPC codes for a patent document can be found on the individual summary cover page provided by the Esp@cenet.

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Figure 5: Alternatively, the IPC code(s) are shown on Esp@cenet.

When you search for patents record the IPC codes of the relevant patent documents found in Step 2 and find the classes the IPC code(s) represent. This can be done by searching the IPC code(s) on the WIPO website (http://www.wipo.int/classifications/ipc/en/) or on the Esp@cenet database as shown in Figure 6 and 7, respectively.

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Figure 6: Searching IPC code(s) on the WIPO website


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Figure 7: Searching IPC code(s) on the Esp@cenet database.

When you search for patents this step should allow you to identify the IPC codes that represent relevant classifications for your idea.