Use ClassClarify to examine the USPTO Manual of Classification.

     ClassClarify is an electronic edition of the USPTO Manual of Classification, the manual used by patent examiners to classify US patents. Use ClassClarify to help you search for prior art, look for trends and major players in industry, and generally negotiate the complex landscape of patent documents.

     Start by taking a few patents of direct relevance to your search (the first few hits from a keyword search is a nice start) and import their class numbers into ClassClarify. Then build up a more comprehensive list of related classes by examining the class schedule. Expand the scope of the search by adding parent subclasses. Examine speciation by adding child subclasses. Notes from the subclass definitions also contain new search ideas and classes. Export your finished class list to a search engine or report. The software makes this process easy and intuitive.

     The Manual of Classification is a descriptive study of the art itself, rather than a prescriptive abstract model of the art. A careful study of the manual using ClassClarify will reveal the nature of what is actually being patented and how patents relate to each other. It's an essential tool for the Examiner, as it should be for you.

     Look at the screenshots on the next page to better understand how the software can help make your job easier.