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Japan Patent Office World-First and New Patent Classification Created for IoT-based Technologies

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has newly created a patent classification for IoT (Internet of Things) -based technologies as an effort leading the rest of the world.

Use of this classification will enable IP users to comprehensively collect and analyze the prior art of patent documents in the fields of IoT-based technologies. Also, it will enhance such users’ predictability in obtaining patent rights for IoT-based technologies.

1. Background

The JPO has been assigning patent classification symbols to filed patent applications in order to categorize these applications by technology under the patent classification system. The patent classification system is a very important tool for IP users not only for the efficient search for related prior art documents but also for the ascertaining of current trends in technology development. Based on this recognition, the JPO has been streamlining the system on a continuous basis in line with technological progress.

Meanwhile, with the dramatic development of IoT-based technologies in recent years, there are growing public needs for more patent information to ascertain the trends in applications filed for these technologies and the types of patents to be granted in the field. However, there has been no such patent classification that IP users are able to comprehensively use to collect patent information on these technologies.

2. Summary of the new patent classification

Against this backdrop, on November 14, 2016, the JPO newly created a patent classification (ZIT) for IoT-based technologies, an effort leading the rest of the world. Consequently, IP users will be able to comprehensively collect and analyze patent information on IoT-based technologies sequentially from 2017 through J-PlatPat, JPO’s patent information platform open to the public.

This effort is expected to contribute to further advancing efficient research and development in the field of IoT-based technologies in Japan and also helping IP users ascertain the types of registered patents and enhance their predictability in obtaining patent rights for these technologies.

3. Future actions

 The JPO will aim to encourage not only the JPO but also other IP offices to assign the newly-created classification symbols for IoT-based technologies to patent documents worldwide. To this end, it will endeavor to work on other IP offices, taking the opportunities of the meetings of the IP5 Offices, namely, the JPO, the European Patent Office (EPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as well as international meetings held by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Release date

November 14, 2016

Division in Charge

Examination Policy Planning Office, Administrative Affairs Division, Patent and Design Examination Department (Physics, Optics, Social Infrastructure and Design), JPO

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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