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Intellectual Property Research: Industry Classification Systems


Below are databases that are helpful in finding a classification code for a company or industry.


  •  Use NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System) and SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) codes to find market size, develop lists of competitors, suppliers or customers, find industry ratios, and more.
  • There is no central government agency with the role of assigning, monitoring, or approving NAICS codes for establishments. Individual establishments are assigned NAICS codes by various agencies for various purposes using a variety of methods. Various other government agencies, trade associations, and regulation boards adopted the NAICS classification system to assign codes to their own lists of establishments for their own programmatic needs.
  •  The Standard Industrial Classification (abbreviated SIC), established in 1937, is a United States government system for classifying industries by a four-digit code.  The project was designed to classify "industries" in the broad sense of all economic activity. As the definition of US “industry” has changed from a manufacturing focus to idea or services focus the SIC code was less useful.
  •  NAICS was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of statistical data describing the U.S. economy. NAICS is based on a production-oriented concept, meaning that it groups establishments into industries according to similarity in the processes used to produce goods or services. NAICS replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system in 1997.

  • Database and datasets will often use a modified NAICS or SIC classification system to organize companies.
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