Patents and utility models

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Systematic searches for technical IP rights

Classifications allow the performance of language-independent, systematic searches.
More than 100 patent offices use the International Patent Classification (IPC) to achieve an internationally uniform classification of patent office publications. The IPC serves as a search tool for the retrieval of patent documents in order to establish novelty and evaluate the inventive step or non-obviousness including the assessment of technical advancements and possible exploitation or utility of technical disclosures in patent applications.
The International Patent Classification (IPC) serves as

  • an instrument for the orderly categorisation of patent documents in order to facilitate access to the technological and legal information contained therein
  • a basis for selective dissemination of information to all users of patent information
  • a basis for determining the state of the art for a patent
  • a basis for the preparation of industrial property statistics which in turn permit the assessment of technological development in various areas

Searches with the IPC

Information material

The use of IPC classification symbols allows you to conduct a systematic and language-independent search within the DPMA’s DEPATISnet database. A description of the system and instructions on the use of these classification symbols during the search can be found in the help texts of that section.


Last updated: 20 October 2020