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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 and to compare the innovation profile of companies, competitors and technology landscapes.

Superclasses in the UTT

The Cipher Universal Technology Taxonomy (UTT) is organised by reference to Technology Superclasses (9) and Subclasses (114). The taxonomy was designed to ensure that the 45m+ active patents and applications globally are equally represented.

View all patented technologies by:

  • Single organisation or by group of companies
  • Technology trends either globally or nationally

Including patent intelligence relating to:

  • Size, geography, activity
  • Quality, CAGR or cost
  • Risk, both from operating companies and NPEs

Free report on semiconductors using 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.

Universal Technology

Download Universal Technology Taxonomy


Universal Technology Taxonomy (UTT)

UTT by Cipher

Find out how Cipher can give you an objective view of patented technologies globally and details of:

  • 9 technology Superclasses
  • 114 technology Subclasses
  • Subclasses scope definitions
Do you want to know why we launched UTT?
Read our insight article

Universal Technology Taxonomy


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 benefit of having the Universal Technology Taxonomy

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Example Taxonomies by Industry sector


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Aerospace and Defence

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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

Investing in the Future of Technology

Episode 10, Season 1 of Cipher Vision Podcast series is about Investing in the Future of Technology. The season finale features two of Cipher’s directors, Scott Bell and Stephen Halliday.
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Capitalism without capital

Episode 4, Season 1 Capitalism without capital for patents is the fourth episode of the podcast series Cipher Vision and features Jonathan Haskel
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The End Of Accounting

Episode 9, Season 1 of Cipher Vision Podcast series is about The End of Accounting. It features Dr Baruch Lev, the guru of intangible assets.
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Episode 8, Season 1 of Cipher Vision Podcast series is about An era of IP transparency. It features David Kappos partner Cravath and former director USPTO.
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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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Technology Trends icon

Predict technology trends

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

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Risk Mitigation

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.