903.04 Classifying Applications for Publication as a Plant Patent Application Publication in USPC [R-07.2022]
Most patent applications filed on or after November 29, 2000, are published as a patent application publication pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 122(b), unless certain exceptions apply. See MPEP § 1120.
U.S. utility patents and U.S. utility patent application publications published after December 31, 2014 do not receive classifications within the USPC and only receive classification designations within the CPC. Only U.S. design and plant patents and U.S. plant patent application publications continue to receive classifications within the USPC. See MPEP § 905 for information on CPC.
Plant 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 plant patent application publication, there may be any number of secondary classifications. The selection of a primary classification of a plant patent application publication is based on the application’s main inventive concept using the claim 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 plant 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.