Patent application publications are given a primary classification (equivalent to an original classification), and may also be given a secondary classification (equivalent to a cross reference). While there may be only one primary classification for a single patent application publication, there may be any number of secondary classifications. The selection of a primary classification of a patent application publication is based on the application’s main inventive concept using the claims as a guide. A primary classification could be any U.S. class/subclass (except cross reference art collections, digests and foreign art collection subclasses). A secondary classification is based on other inventive concepts (mandatory) or valuable disclosure (discretionary), and may be any U.S. class/subclass (including cross reference collections and digests, but excluding foreign art collection subclasses). The classification of a patent application publication is printed on the front page of the publication.
At least 9 weeks prior to the projected publication date, applications are classified using programs designed to enable entry of certain data required for publication of patent applications. Applications are classified by giving each application at least a primary classification and an international classification. The suggested international classification(s) corresponding to each assigned U.S. classification is provided. In addition, if a figure is to be published, the figure is selected at the time of classification.