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      DATE: June 11, 1999




First Session
Geneva, May 31 to June 11, 1999


adopted by the Working Group




1. The IPC Revision Working Group (hereinafter referred to as "the Working Group") held its first session in Geneva from May 31 to June 11, 1999. The following members of the Working Group were represented at the session: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI), European Patent Office (EPO) (18). Croatia and Slovenia were represented by observers. The list of participants appears as Annex A to this report.

2. The session was opened by Mr. M. Makarov, Head, International Patent Classification Section, Inter-Office Information Services and Operational Affairs Department, WIPO, who welcomed the participants on behalf of the Director General.



3. The Working Group unanimously elected Mr. A. Bruun (Sweden) as Chairman and Mr. H. Wongel (European Patent Office) as Vice-Chairman.

4. Mr. Makarov acted as Secretary of the session.



5. The Working Group unanimously adopted the agenda, which appears as Annex B to this report.



6. As decided by the Governing Bodies of WIPO at their tenth series of meetings (see document AB/X/32, paragraphs 51 and 52), held from September 24 to October 2, 1979, the report of this session reflects only the conclusions (decisions, recommendations, opinions, etc.) of the Working Group and does not, in particular, reflect the statements made by any participant, except where any reservation in respect of any specific conclusion of the Working Group was made or repeated after the conclusion was arrived at.



7. The Working Group noted an oral report by the International Bureau on the twenty-eighth session of the IPC Committee of Experts (hereinafter referred to as "the Committee") (see document IPC/CE/28/5), at which session the Committee had decided to commence the reform of the IPC so as to convert it into a classification fully functioning in the electronic environment and agreed that, simultaneously with the reforming of the IPC, its revision should continue, on a limited scale, in order to accommodate therein changes necessitated by technological progress. The Working Group was informed that the Committee had introduced, to that end, a transitional shortened revision period which would cover the years 1999 to 2002, such that the eighth edition of the IPC would enter into force on January 1, 2003.

8. The Working Group further noted that, during the transitional period, the revision work should continue on the basis of the revision projects deferred from the previous revision period and that new revision requests could be accepted in the revision program only if they related to classification places covering new emerging technologies.



9. The Working Group noted that its mandate included the revision of the IPC and the right to create subsidiary bodies which would receive instructions from, and would report to, the Working Group. According to the Committee's decision, a maximum of two weeks of the sessions of the subsidiary bodies could be held per year.

10. The Working Group noted that it had been authorised to consider new revision requests exercising, however, caution in deciding whether or not to accept a revision project in the program. The Working Group had also been empowered to widen the original scope of a revision project if needed.




11. The Working Group was informed that the ad hoc IPC Reform Working Group had held its first session from May 25 to 28, 1999 (see document IPC/REF/1/2), at which session it had approved a list of long-term goals of the development of the IPC, started preparatory work on the tasks of the IPC reform and created a Task Force for conducting a study of possibilities for multiple classification in the IPC and a review of hybrid systems in the IPC aiming at their standardisation and converting of some indexing schemes into classification schemes.

12. The Working Group noted that the ongoing work on IPC reform should always be taken into consideration in the current revision of the IPC. It was indicated that, although the results which could be achieved in the course of the IPC reform were not known, general guidance provided by the Committee for conducting the reform gave a clear indication that, in the consideration of IPC revision projects, particular attention should be paid in the fields concerned to the possibility of multiple classification, the need for standardisation of the IPC structure, the creation of classification definitions and the provision of the additional explanatory material for the user.

13. Following the instruction given by the Committee to test a new revision procedure providing rapporteurs with the power of project leaders, the Working Group selected the following projects in three technical fields for evaluation of that procedure (the project leaders are indicated in brackets):

14. The Working Group agreed that, in further elaboration of the selected projects, flexible working methods should be implemented on the basis of the rapporteur's decisions on how to better organise discussions in the time periods between the sessions of the Working Group, for example, by requesting additional material or comments from participants in the project.

15. In order to provide careful planning of work at its sessions, the Working Group requested the International Bureau to indicate priority of revision projects included in the agenda for discussion. It was agreed that, as regards the second session of the Working Group, priority should be given in general to the projects discussed at the first session and to the other projects of the category C on the IPC revision program.

16. The Working Group discussed 47 pending IPC revision projects and approved amendments relating to those projects (see Annexes 1 to 30 to this report). The decisions of the Working Group in respect of those projects are listed in Annex C to this report, and further information with respect to some of these decisions is given in paragraph 18, below. A list indicating to which classes or subclasses amendments have been approved during the revision period appears as Annex D to this report.

17. The Working Group had before it, in particular, document PCIPI/SI/21/6 and the relevant project files, as well as letters containing documents submitted by industrial property offices, of which copies were distributed at the session.

IPC Revision Projects

18. The Working Group made the following observations, in addition to the decisions set forth in Annex C to this report, with respect to the IPC revision projects discussed:



19. The Working Group noted that the Committee had included in its work program the following Task of the IPC reform: "Develop a general question and answer pamphlet on the application of the IPC". The Working Group agreed that the said pamphlet should principally be addressed to non-initiated users of patent information and should contain basic introductory material, in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQ), for accessing the IPC.

20. The Working Group requested its members to collect available material relating to this Task, in time before its next session, and to submit it to the International Bureau and to the Rapporteur for the Task (United States of America). It was noted that, at the next session of the Working Group, a progress report on the elaboration of the Task would be made.

21. The International Bureau asked the members of the Working Group to make available to it also any training material on the use of the IPC which could be of interest in the elaboration of improved IPC training tools.



22. The International Bureau made a short demonstration of a new WIPO Internet site in the form of an electronic forum. This site would give the possibility to the offices to directly post their documents concerning revision projects to a specific page for each project. The documents would then be immediately available to all other offices without any further need to send them by e-mail, limiting the amount of documents "lost" because of e-mail system breakdown, incorrect e-mail address or absence of the receiving person.

23. It was agreed to proceed to a trial of this facility in the framework of a limited number of revision projects, namely projects C 340, C 375 and C 412.

24. The posted documents should be recorded in Word 6 or WP 6.1 formats. The possibility of free text should be used only for minor comments (e.g. clerical error corrections) which would not be part of the project file. It was noted that the International Bureau would still produce and send to the offices paper versions of all projects following the current practice. Furthermore, PDF documents would also be produced and made available on the Internet.

25. The International Bureau informed that, by July 15, 1999, the e-forum sites for the trial projects would be prepared. Offices would receive by e-mail from the International Bureau necessary instructions on the access and use of the e-forum, together with passwords provided.

26. The possibilities of a future more advanced electronic document management system were then discussed by the Working Group, centering on the following provisional list of requirements:

27. Finally, the importance of assigning adequate resources for the realization of the future document management system was stressed by the Working Group.



28. The Chairman assessed the status of the Tasks assigned to the Working Group and stated that 47 revision projects on the agenda of this session (see Annex B to this report), as well as the other Tasks before the Working Group had been satisfactorily dealt with. Of the revision projects dealt with, 16 related to the mechanical field, 13 to the chemical field and 18 to the electrical field. He pointed out that Annex C to this report gave the status of each revision project and brief information on actions to follow.



29. The Working Group discussed the request by the ad hoc IPC Reform Working Group to consider the feasibility of shortening its two-week session which is planned for the second half of 1999 and agreed that, although the ongoing work on the IPC reform was of paramount importance, it was also desirable to achieve, in 1999, significant progress in the IPC revision, especially because it was expected that, after the completion of the IPC revision program, the Working Group would be charged with the implementation of measures resulting from reform.

30. The Working Group agreed, consequently, that its second session could be shortened by one day so that extra time could be used for the second session of the ad hoc IPC Reform Working Group which could be held from November 15 to 22, 1999.

31. The Working Group requested the Secretariat to reserve the following dates for its second session:

November 23 to December 3, 1999.

32. The Working Group assessed the workload expected to be before it at its next session and agreed to devote the first two days of the first week to the chemical field, the remaining two days of that week to the electrical field and the second week to the mechanical field.

33. This report was unanimously adopted by
the Working Group at its closing meeting on
June 11, 1999.


[Annexes follow]