Skip to main content
2 posts
Last seen: 11/16/2022 - 15:14
Joined: 10/25/2022 - 20:43
Clarifyig "cpc_sequence" and "cpc_symbol_position"

Dear Patent Community,

I was wondering what is the specific interpretation of the order in which the CPC class appears in the patent file (what is represented in the datasets as "CPC_sequence"). Does it mean when the CPC sequence number is lower, the patent is more relevant to that CPC class? After doing a bit of search, my understanding is that in the previous classification method, "USPC," the sequence in which the classes appeared mattered, such that the primary classification appeared in the first sequence (compared to the other classifications that were peripheral classifications). But is that the case for CPC as well?



Role: moderator
Last seen: 03/15/2023 - 10:18
Joined: 10/17/2017 - 10:47
Hello! Thank you for your…

Hello! Thank you for your patience while we checked with our contacts at the USPTO. Here is what their team shared with us regarding the significance of sequence number. Thank you! - PVTeam

The only significance to the sequence number is the CPC that is first in the sequence -- it is “CPC First.” Per MPEP 905.03(a):

“Each patent family will possess a first-listed CPC classification symbol which is selected from the required classifications for the inventive subject matter of the patent family. This "first" CPC classification is the inventive classification symbol which most adequately represents the invention as a whole for the patent family."

Note that CPC First is the first-numbered CPC among the CPC Inventive symbols.

The order of the other symbols does not provide useful information. What does provide information regarding whether a patent advances the technology associated with that CPC is the type attribute:  invention versus additional. I.e., if the symbol is CPC Inventive (to include CPC First) or is CPC Additional. See MPEP 905.03(a). Note that CPC Inventive symbols are ordered prior to CPC Additional systems, but you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins from the sequence number.

Re: USPC, I don’t think I would characterize the other classifications as “peripheral” -- they may not be the primary USPC classification, but they are relevant. Similarly, CPC Additional are also relevant. Examiners add these additional CPC codes as cross-reference or, for example, to help with future prior art searches.