909.01(d) Classification Challenge Procedure in CPC [R-07.2022]


When, in the opinion of the assigned examiner, the C* designated CPC symbol(s) on a nonprovisional utility patent application are incorrect, they must initiate a C* challenge through the Classification Allocation Tool (CAT) (https://cpc.uspto.gov/ mcc/secure/index.html#/home ) and complete the C* challenge form indicating any and all challenges to any C* designations including suggested additions of C* designations. Every challenge must also be accompanied by an explanation as to why each C* designation should be added or removed.

If the examiner assigned the application believes the application has been improperly assigned to them, but is unable to determine the appropriate C* designations, a supervisory patent examiner, a search and classification expert, or quality nominee should be consulted.

If review of the C* challenge(s) results in a determination that change(s) should be made to the C* designation(s) on an application and a First Action on the Merits (FAOM) has not been submitted for credit at the time of the determination, the application may be rerouted by the automated routing system based on the new C* designations on the application.

If management’s review of the C* challenge(s) results in no change(s) to the C* designations on an application the application will remain with the assigned examiner and a brief explanation as to why the C* designation(s) are appropriate or inappropriate will be provided to the examiner.


In those applications in which a restriction is considered proper by the examiner, an election must be made prior to the submission of C* challenge(s) so that the challenge may be decided based on the claims elected. The election may be made either telephonically or in writing.


SPEs and examiners must use the Classification Allocation Tool (CAT) classification challenge pages which create a record of the classification challenge history of each application and facilitates tracking of classification challenges of applications.