Patent authorities in the U.S. and Europe have partnered up to fuse their patent classification systems under the European standard, with the intent of simplifying the process by which patents are registered from different regions.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will work along with the European Patent Office to align its regulations and procedures with the World Intellectual Property Organization's International Patent Classification (IPC) system.
In a joint statement, the two organizations cited, that "cooperation between their two offices will facilitate progress in undertaking classification harmonization projects ... the USPTO and the EPO have agreed together to work toward the formation of a partnership to explore the development of a joint classification system based on the European Classification system (ECLA) that will incorporate the best classification practices of the two offices."
Because the United States patent system is older than the IPC, collaboration and filing across multiple regions or countries has proved overly complicated, as patents must be filed in every territory in which the filer seeks protection for its product. The new harmonious system between the USPTO and the EPO seeks to allow a single patent filing to cover as many jurisdictions as possible.