F-Term Vs IPC/CPC For Japanese Patents

Explanation of F-Term Classifications

F-Term is a multidimensional classification system consists of a theme and multiple viewpoints. There are about 2,600 Themes which can be further divided to form 380,000 different classifications. The notation of F-term is shown below.

  • Theme code: represents a technical field
  • Viewpoint: analyses the theme (material, purpose, operation, manufacturing, etc.)
  • Figure: subdivides the viewpoint

Which Patent Classification System should we use to search Japanese patent?

There are mainly two international patent classification systems that are IPC and CPC. There is another Classification system which could be usable for searching Japanese patents is F-Term. F-Term is a very complex Classification that is developed by Japanese patent office for only Jese patent. It has a very different structure then the other classification system (as shown above). So, there is a need of comparison between IPC/CPC and F-TERM classification system.

Need of Classification based search for Japanese Patents?

The Japanese patents are foreign language patent translated into English language. As a result the keyword based searching will
not be a good way. Because there are a lot of jargons used which come due to translation. As, we know Patent classifications are language independent. Patent Classification automatically removes all the jargons.

Comparison of IPC/CPC and F-Term Classification based searching of Japanese Patents

To compare the IPC/CPC and F-Term based search. We have to take an examplary claim:
1. A liquid immersion photolithography system comprising:

  • an exposure system that exposes a substrate with electromagnetic radiation and includes a projection optical system that focuses the electromagnetic radiation on the substrate;
  • a liquid supply system that provides liquid flow between the projection optical system and the substrate; and
  • a plurality of micronozzles arranged around a periphery of the projection optical system so as to provide a substantially uniform velocity distribution of the liquid flow between the substrate and the projection optical system.

To Search for the above invention disclosure:
1. We have to extract relevant IPC/CPC and group them and search accordingly
2. We have to extract relevant F-Term and group them and search accordingly

1.Searching using IPC/CPC classification (for demonstration we also use keyword+classification based
search to make it broader):

  • Number of results using on IPC/CPC classification: 307
  • Number of result using keyword+ IPC/CPC classification: 3992
  • Total no. of results: 4075

2. Searching using F-Term classification:

  • Number of results using on F-Term classification: 360


With the above analysis, it could be seen that there are almost 106 results out of 360 results which are not retrieved using IPC/CPC and IPC/CPC+keyword based search. So, it is necessary to use F-Term classification to search for Japanese patent.
F-Term have more division (380,000 entries) means we can do more specific search. There are Multidimensional viewpoints for every theme. F-Term classifications are very well structured for Language independent search. So, The F-Term classification based search is very successful for Japanese patents.

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