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About Authors:
Arun Kumar
Department of Intellectual Property Management,
Nectar Lifesciences Limited, Punjab, India

With advancements in technology, new inventions are emerging day-by-day, resulting in more number of patent filings all over the globe. The analysis of existing patents to analyze novelty or patentability of upcoming inventions and to check the non-infringing process of the patented technology, there is need to analyze patents of targeted domain technology. The analysis of patents is done not only to analyze novelty or infringement but also to explore the undiscovered innovative knowledge covered in patents. Patent searching using keywords, sometimes, gives very broad results. The analysis of thousands of patents becomes difficult for patent analyst. The methodology used with IPC (International Patent Classification) codes helps to reduce the result of patent search and helps patent analyst in targeted search. But in case of Japanese patent search, IPC alone unable to give targeted results. Then it becomes important to understand the concept of JPC (Japanese Patent Classification) codes and their use to make the Japanese patent search easy. The Japanese Patent Classification includes File Index, Facets and F-term. In this article, Japanese Patent Classification codes are explained in details with their consequences, applications, constructions and search methodology using them.

Reference Id: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1518

PharmaTutor (ISSN: 2347 - 7881)

Volume 1, Issue 1

Received On: 05/10/2013; Accepted On: 15/10/2013; Published On: 25/11/2013

How to cite this article: Kumar A, Japanese Patent Classification: An Auxiliary Tool in Patent Analytics, PharmaTutor, 2013, 1(1), 22-28

Classification is the distribution or arrangement of information in such a way so as to retrieve the particular information becomes easy and faster. Text Searching gives us quick information but not so precise. The required specific information may not be present in text but in drawings only. In that case use of synonyms may or may not be useful for retrieval of precise information. This problem resulting from unstructured search can be solved by creating structured source of data by means of classification. There are lots of indexing and classification schemes to reorganize the data.

In patent analysis, same problem appears with text searching and to avoid this problem patent classification codes introduced. Patent classification schemes are used to organize the patent data for accurate and easy access. The usefulness of patent classification is understood in terms of refinement of search by patent examiner or any other non-expert searcher to focus on desired technology.

Types of Patent Classification Systems:
1.      The International Patent Classification (IPC)
2.      The European Patent Classification (ECLA)
3.      The United States Patent Classification (USPC)
4.      British Patent Classification (UKPC)
5.      Japanese Patent (FI, Facets and F-term) Classification
6.      German Patent Classification
7.      DWPI Patent Classification

Introduction of JPC
Japanese Patent classification System (JPC) introduced in order to organize and index the technical information given in Japanese patent documents. This classification system helps in retrieving the patent document quicker by sub-dividing and indexing technological subject matter for studying a particular area of technology in Japanese patents.

The JPC is constructed with three fragments:
1.      File Index (F-I) Classification e.g. C02F9/00 501 A
2.      Facets (complement to FI classification) e.g. ZAB or ZCC
F-terms e.g. 4D006 GA01 A

The F-I classification system is more or less an extension of the IPC. Facets are useful in combination with F-I classification search to index subject matter in a different prospective.5 F-terms are independent of IPC and are the combining result of multiple F-I subdivisions into broader “themes.”

History of JPC
Japanese Patent Office (JPO) located in Tokyo administers the laws relating to patents, industrial designs, utility models and trademarks to promote the growth of Japanese economy. In 1978, Japan agreed with PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) and then JPO endorsed International Patent Classification (IPC), abandoning its own patent classification in 1980.4

The F-term system was formulated in 1987 by the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and its maintenance exercised by the same body. The F-term system does not have any legal foundation, whereas the IPC system was agreed by the Strasbourg Agreement of 1971.3

Consequences of JPC
A Patent Classification provides a code for categorizing the invention. It also represents a group of searchable patents based on their similarity of claimed subject matter. A classification is used as a tool in finding relevant patents and assigning patent application in a particular group according to their technical domain.

Any person looking for a patent or utility model on a technology, especially in the jurisdiction of Japan, have to check whether their patent, or utility model is novel and is not claimed by any other person or organization in Japan or in any other country. To check this one should go for deep data-mining. One can use JPC for the data-mining as well as for searching of: Novelty, Patentability, Invalidity, Infringement issues or other related information and analysis thereof.

The classification based searching has various advantages:
a)     it gives domain specific results than comprehensive text search results
b)     it is independent of the language of the text
c)     it is independent of the changes in terminology.

The applications of F-terms (JPC) are:
·         Used in those areas where IPC alone unable to retrieve precise answers
·         Not used alone but in combination with keywords and IPCs
·         Used to define uses of concerned technolog
·         Often used for polymer searching e.g. process
·         Not used much for low molecular weight substance searching
·         Efficiently used in structure searching (i.e. chemical structure fragment searching).6


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