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Universal Technology Taxonomy

Delivering transparency on who owns patented technology globally

The first taxonomy to provide a consistent and objective analysis of patented technologies owned by all companies globally.

Harnessing the latest in machine learning, the Cipher Universal Technology Taxonomy (UTT) provides a fast and effective way to:

  • understand global technology trends
  • compare the innovation profile of companies, competitors and technology landscapes.
Watch a short summary video of the UTT
UTT Superclasses

The Cipher Universal Technology Taxonomy (UTT) is organised by reference to Technology Superclasses (10) and Subclasses (122).

The taxonomy was designed to ensure that the 44m+ active patents and applications globally are equally represented.

In the UTT, the user can view all patented technologies by:

  • A single organisation or by a group of companies
  • Technology trends – either globally or nationally.

The UTT includes patent intelligence relating to:

  • Size, geography, and activity
  • Quality, compound annual growth rate (CAGR), or cost
  • Risk – both from operating companies and from non-practicing entities (NPEs)

Free report on semiconductors using UTT 

Why UTT?

Why is it important to understand what a company owns?

Patented technology is a core strategic asset. Information about the intellectual property rights owned by a company is not made available as part of its annual or quarterly accounts. Yet 80% of the value of a company is intangible. In an era where innovation is critical to success and value creation, understanding what technology a company is protecting is essential. Put another way, how can you understand a company if you don’t know what strategic assets it owns?

Do companies generally own patents in just a few of the technology classes?

There is no hard and fast rule. For companies with many divisions or activities expect their technology to fall in many categories. Even companies with a narrower focus still have patents relating to a dozen or so technologies. The insight comes from the trends within the categories. Which are growing/declining? Where are the hot-spots for litigation? What are the differences in international protection?

Why is UTT different to Patent Office CPC codes?

There are over 300,000 CPC (and a similar number of IPC) codes. These help Patent Offices identify prior art when examining patent applications. They are not useful for identifying patented technologies and do not purport to classifying patented technologies.

Global Competitive Intelligence

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Full UTT layout

The UTT can give you an objective view of patented technologies globally and also provide details of:

  • 10 technology Superclasses
  • 122 technology Sub-classes and their scope definitions


What’s the difference between the Universal Technology Taxonomy and Cipher Custom Taxonomies?

The UTT as the name suggests is Universal. It analyses the entire patented world through a common lens. Custom taxonomies are created by companies to see the world through their technology taxonomy. They are much more specific as to scope – and  typically only cover part of the technology landscape

What’s the difference between Cipher’s Universal Technology Taxonomy and clustering?

The universal technology taxonomy is a fixed taxonomy that classifies patents into one of the defined classes. Cipher clustering (unsupervised ML) analyses patents into the ‘buckets’ most relevant to the selected company. The UTT is the only approach that provides a consistent view of all patents globally.

Does the UTT provide a better classification than say SIC, CPC or NAICS codes?

SIC and NAICS codes classify companies by their primary activity or principal source of revenue. They form a bedrock for economic and financial analysis. But there is a big difference between what a company does and the technologies that it chooses to protect.CPC codes could give you this answer, there are over 300,000 of these – too many to get your head around or to provide any form of meaningful comparison. Also, there is a predictive element to investment in patents. Patenting activity provides insights into what a company is likely to do in the future. This is totally outside the scope of existing corporate classification systems.

The benefits of having the Universal Technology Taxonomy

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Articles, podcasts and source material featuring the UTT

Universal Technology Taxonomy – Insight

Introducing the world’s first Universal Technology Taxonomy. This article sheds light on why Cipher launched the world’s first universal technology to classify patents and example analysis using UTT.
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Inventions & Innovators powering the Energy Transition

A detailed view of the leading innovators to watch based on recently-published inventions and applying weightings to technologies which enable the energy transition.
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Oil and Gas Supermajors – Energy Transition

Our updated report finds that supermajors’ technology innovation is more evident in the Materials, Mechanical, and Sensors & Optics categories.
Read more

A global view of innovation

This Cipher report provides a breakdown of the world’s inventions and activity into individual technology sectors.
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Sustainability and detergents: environmentally friendly innovation

Our report on patent owners in the Sustainable Detergents space identifies the firms producing new formulations and the countries leading innovation.
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Life Sciences top patent publishing list

Life Sciences is a clear leader out of all of the patent categories tracked to chart the pace of innovation. This was one of the lead findings in Cipher’s recent global report.
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Machine Learning for Patents

Episode 3 in Season 2 of the Cipher Vision Podcast series features Tony Trippe, founder of Tony explains how patents are an “amazing source of information” and why machine learning will help businesses make decisions far more quickly.
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Portfolio review request


The Cipher team are able to use the supervised machine learning platform to scan patent activity for any company in the world.

Submit details of the three companies you’d like us to review and we’ll do the rest. Try us out now.


UTT Exclusive Insight 

Peer review request

Example Taxonomies by Industry sector


Incorporating both Food&Drink and Beauty and Personal care developed in collaboration with Mintel
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The types of classifiers in a FinTech technology would be in sectors such as banking services, payment technologies, and security.
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Strategic insight for the next generation of diagnosis and treatment for data driven healthcare
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Aerospace and Defence

Technologies within this taxonomy include: air turbine starters; electromagnetics; flight management systems for drones; head mounted displays (HMDs); and virtual cockpits.
Read more


Navigate complex landscapes when every company is a technology company.
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Supporting the sector in times of fast pace and high stakes technology evolution
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Industrial Automation

A patent taxonomy developed at the heart of Industry 4.0, including 3D printing, robotics and connectivity
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Listen to the Cipher Vision Podcast

Promoting SEPs Transparency

Episode 5 in the Cipher Vision Podcast series features Tim Pohlmann, CEO, LexisNexis IPlytics. He joins us to discuss the world of SEPs, from areas of conflict to new opportunities.
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Protecting Innovation with Director Vidal

Episode 4 in Season 3 features Director Kathi Vidal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who shares her thoughts on how we can improve the innovation ecosystem.
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The Patent Market

Episode 3 in Season 3 features Kent Richardson, CEO, Richardson Oliver insights joined us to share the inside scoop on the patent market, from who is buying and selling and the price, to what the future holds.
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At War With Cybersecurity

Episode 2 in Season 3 features Jared Engstrom, Senior Director, IP Strategy at CrowdStrike joined us to discuss how pivotal patents are to a strategic security strategy.
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Innovation-led Sustainability

Episode 1 in Season 3 features Gregorio Ossola, Head of Corporate Solutions at one.five. Greg shared with us the importance of a data-led approach to sustainability.
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Communicating the Impact of Innovation

In our holiday special, Episode 11, Season 2, our hosts Francesca and Nigel introduce a medley of the best snippets from Series 2. Tune in to enjoy our highlights and key takeaways.
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With Cipher you can…

Portfolio Optimisation connecting cogs

Optimise your portfolio

Ensure you have the right portfolio to meet your strategic patenting objectives.

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Competitive Intelligence

Gather competitor intelligence

Understand who’s doing what by automating patent to technology mapping.

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Cross Licensing

Model cross licensing

Combine patent and revenue data to determine rational licensing outcomes.

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Manage your budget

Justify patent budgets and communicate the impact of your investment.

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Conduct due diligence

Automate manual reviews for efficient execution of M&A and licensing transactions.

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Tackle inbound patent assertion

Be prepared with evidence to create a fast and effective threat assessment.

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Benchmark your portfolio

Assess your portfolio in comparison to other owners through your technology lens.

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Monetise your portfolio

Identify opportunities to create value through licensing or sale of patent assets.

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Predict technology trends

Track new technologies and discover the unknown owners of future innovation.

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Create Risk Mitigation Strategies

Understand the materiality of your threats to define your risk mitigation strategy.

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Improve your patent strategy now

Speak to the Cipher team today.

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