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  1. IPC - International Patent ClassificationClassification Practice- What and Where to Classify (and Search)?

  2. Where? • ► Selecting appropriate places is similar for • Classifying patent applications / granted patents • Searching state of the art for examination

  3. What is classified? ►IPC knows two types of information worth classifying: Invention information: Technical information worth granting a patent Additional information: Supplementary non-invention information the classifier/examiner considers important > obligatory classification > discretionary classification

  4. Example • A metal rod wine rack (Training Example:M5) • Invention Information • A wine rack which is easily dismantled (claim) • Additional Information • A rigid wine rack made of “wire” • Int. Cl. • A47B 73/00 (2006.01) • A47B 47/02 (2006.01) • A47B 55/02 (2006.01) 4

  5. Invention Information • Addition to the state of the art in its context • All novel and unobvious subject matter in any part of document • Claims as guidance, but also in description • In examined patent only in claims • Each piece of invention information classified separately as a whole >>inventive thing • At least one symbol given as I.I. even if no invention > obligatory classification

  6. Invention Information • Technical subject matter should be classified as a whole – not constituent parts • Unless constituent parts novel and unobvious • When classifying large systems as a whole, sub combinations should also be classified if inventive.

  7. Additional information • Non trivial technical information constituting useful information for search • Complementing invention information, e.g. • constituents of a composition or mixture • elements or components of a process or structure • use or applications of classified technical subjects if non-inventive • Allows search by combination of symbols > non-obligatory classification

  8. 1st step of classifying (search) ►Determine the subject matter to be classified (searched) • Basic categories of subject matter which the IPC knows: • Processes, products, apparatus or materials • Things “per se” and adaptations

  9. Categories of Technical subjects • Categories used in IPC • Processes: polymerisation, fermentation, transformation of energy, building… • Products: chemical compounds, articles of manufacture • Material: ingredients of mixtures • Methods: of using a product or performing an operation • Apparatus: tools, machines • Each of the categories should be separately classified if needed

  10. Categories of Technical subjects • For example, if a product is inventive and its method of manufacture is inventive, • then both the product and its method of manufacture should be classified. • In addition, if a particular use is disclosed, then the use should also be classified.

  11. Categories not explicitly provided for in classification titles • If a place for a category does not exist, the most appropriate place existing for the other categories is used for classifying • Chemical compound < > its use • Preparation of compound < > compound • Apparatus < > process <> product • Definitions, notes, references provide specific information • See § 92-100 of guide

  12. Function and application-oriented places ►IPC discriminates between two fundamental categories of technical subjects: • Things “per se”, “in general”, i.e. characterised by their intrinsic nature or function, i.e. independent of its field of use • Things specially adapted for particular use or purpose ► Function-oriented place ► Application-oriented place

  13. Function and application: examples Function-oriented Places - C07: Organic compounds characterised by structure only - F16K (Valves), B01D (Filters), F16F (Springs) Application Places - C05 covers use of organic compounds as fertilisers - A61F 2/24 covers mechanical valves specially adapted for insertion into a human heart - A47J 31/06 covers filters for coffee or tea makers - B60G 11/00 covers incorporation of a spring into the suspension of a vehicle “specially adapted for” in the title

  14. What and Where ? • N.B: One document may contain several different technical subject matters (inventive things) to be classified (e.g. independent claims) • ►All inventive things have to be classified, several symbols must be assigned if needed! In the following we discuss where inventive things have to be classified, e.g. in the case of overlap of possible places or several aspects of one single inventive thing

  15. IPC symbols, e.g. Clarification – several symbols ? Patent application IN-0000XX Inventive thing 1 Claim 1 - Claim 2 (dependent claim) - Claim 3 (dependent claim) Inventive thing 2 Claim 4 - Claim 5 (dependent claim) G67K 1/00 (invention information) B91M 1/00 (additional information) F88Z 1/00 (invention information) 15

  16. Where? ►Traditional principal: As few symbols as possible, as much as necessary ! > Idealy one symbol (historically important reason: limit paper search file) ►Complementary principle: Classify everything interesting for search purposes! (efficient retrieval of documents)

  17. Types of IPC symbols ► Classification symbols normally stand for concepts (longer titles), i.e a combination of charateristics/features ► Indexing symbols only describe one additional characteristic of the subject matter to be classified i.e. adding an indexing symbols is like adding a keyword (indexing)

  18. Indexing symbols Used only in specific areas to classify additional information of interest for search > Discretionary classification I.e. indexing symbols are never given alone, they always supplement one or several ordinary symbols > Never presented first Only specific places in the IPC scheme are used for indexing Indexing subclasses (B29K, B29L, C10N, C12R, F21W, F21Y) Indexing main groups (e.g. A01D 101/00, C04B 103/00,..)

  19. Types of IPC symbols • ► Summary • Invention information: • Classification symbols • Additional information: • Classification symbols • Indexing symbols

  20. Classification Rules ►When following the hierarchic path, different classification rules may apply: • First place rule (B32B) • Last place rule (C07C) • Other rules Multiple classification (C04B 38/00) Subject-specific rules (C08L) • Common rule (default, if no other rules specified) Note(s) 5. In groups B32B 1/00-B32B 33/00, at each level of indentation, in the absence of an indication to the contrary, classification is made in the first appropriate place. Note(s) 2. Attention is drawn to Note (3) after class C07, which defines the last place priority rule applied in the range of subclasses C07C-C07K and within these subclasses. > They give priority between groups of the same hierarchical level and avoid multiple classification in case of overlap

  21. Common Rule ► C.R. aims at limiting multiple classification when many symbols should be allotted Priority for groups for more complex subject matter groups for more specialised subject matter However, classification in several places if priority not given, only places for sub combinations place of lower priority is useful for search

  22. Question Example : Inventive subject matter A is characterized by subcombinations A2 and A4 existing in the following scheme which has no provision for combinations: A (main group) A1 (subgroup) A2 (subgroup) A3 (subgroup) A4 (subgroup)

  23. Answer if Common Rule > A2 and A4 if First Place Rule > A2 if Last Place Rule > A4 23

  24. Question Q. In main group A21D 2/00, where would you classify treatment of dough by adding a mixture of ascorbic acid and seed germs? (In view of the last place rule in group A21D 2/00.) A. A21D 2/38 24

  25. Selecting / Finding IPC place • ► Different approaches / strategies: • Browsing the IPC scheme • Using the Catchword Index • Text searching of the IPC scheme (“Terms”) • IPCCAT (automated classification tool) • Using patent database (Patentscope)

  26. Browsing the IPC scheme Section Class Subclass Main Group Subgroups Simple approach: ►Browsing the IPC N.B. consult definitions in electronic layer Unspecific titles Specific titles

  27. Using Catchword Index

  28. Using Catchword Index

  29. IPCCAT Access: via IPC home or Allows automated classificationdown to main group Upload of document possible Based on artificial neural network It is suggested that patent abstracts be used (as a minimum), and not a random selection of text from the description Trained with approx. classified 15,000,000 documents Covers English and French updated to IPC-2011.01 Need to consult the scheme, not to take blindly the result

  30. IPCCAT

  31. IPCCAT

  32. IPCCAT

  33. Text search of the IPC scheme

  34. Text search of the IPC scheme 1. Input keyword (e.g. “ nano* ”) 2. Display results 3. Links to the IPC scheme

  35. Search documents with keywords characterizing the subject matter to be classified / searched; check their classifications Reviewing similar documents > e.g. state of the art as cited by applicant or by examiner (ISR) Using patent database

  36. Using patent database filter 36

  37. Using patent database consult patent documents and scheme 37

  38. Questions Where would you search primarily for: 1. A process for making potato chips 2. A handle for a hammer? 3. A handle for a walking stick? 4. A handle for a scythe? 5. A chair convertible to a child’s cot? 6. A child’s cot convertible to a chair? 7. An automobile rear-vision mirror with built-in clock? 38

  39. Answers 1. A23L 1/217 (Catchword Index “potato” & check the scheme) 2. B25G 1/00 (CI “handle” & check the scheme) 3. A45B 9/02 4. A01D 1/14 5. A47D 11/00 (CI “child” and & check the Subclass Index of A47D) 6. A47D 11/00 7. B60R 1/12 (CI “automobile”->”vehicle” & check the Subclass Index of B60R) 39