WIPO just announced a series of reforms that will simplify the IPC. One of the goals is to accelerate the building of a unified IPC system that integrates USPTO, EPO and JPO classifications.
Could a true international patent classification system be at hand?
This is a positive step and should make life easier for patent searchers of all levels of experience, from novices to experts. The need to work in four different systems is challenging even for experienced searchers.
However, there is a potential risk that some of the information currently embedded in local classification systems might be lost.