Step 1

Use the Index to U.S. Patent Classification to Determine Where the Invention Fits

This is where you use the index, which is arranged by alphabet, to find a category, or class, which you think best describes your invention.

  1. Come up with as many words and phrases as you can think of to describe your invention. Is it a mouse trap? Rat trap? Vermin trap? Mouse enclosure? You may even want to consult a thesaurus to find synonyms.
  2. Look up the words and phrases is the Index to US Patent Classification. The Index uses natural language words to point users to the more technical language used by patent examiners.
  3. If you find a term in the Index that closely matches your invention, look at the numbers to the right. Those are the class and subclass numbers. Click the first number to view the class, which is a large group of related items. Click on the second number (after the backslash) to get to the class, or more specific category of closely related items.

Proceed to Step 2.

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