Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New patent mapping system helps find innovation pathways

Date:
January 14, 2014
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
A new patent mapping system that considers how patents cite one another may help researchers better understand the relationships between technologies – and how they may come together to spur disruptive new areas of innovation.

The full patent map shows 466 technology categories and 35 technological areas. Each node color represents a technological area; lines represent relationships between technology categories. Labels for technological areas are placed close to the categories with largest number of patent applications in each area.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Luciano Kay

What's likely to be the "next big thing?" What might be the most fertile areas for innovation? Where should countries and companies invest their limited research funds? What technology areas are a company's competitors pursuing?

Related Articles


To help answer those questions, researchers, policy-makers and R&D directors study patent maps, which provide a visual representation of where universities, companies and other organizations are protecting intellectual property produced by their research. But finding real trends in these maps can be difficult because categories with large numbers of patents -- pharmaceuticals, for instance -- are usually treated the same as areas with few patents.

Now, a new patent mapping system that considers how patents cite one another may help researchers better understand the relationships between technologies -- and how they may come together to spur disruptive new areas of innovation. The system, which also categorizes patents in a new way, was produced by a team of researchers from three universities and an Atlanta-based producer of data-mining software.

"What we are trying to do is forecast innovation pathways," said Alan Porter, professor emeritus in the School of Public Policy and the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the project's principal investigator. "We take data on research and development, such as publications and patents, and we try to elicit some intelligence to help us gain a sense for where things are headed."

Patent maps for major corporations can show where those firms plan to diversify, or conversely, where their technological weaknesses are. Looking at a nation's patent map might also suggest areas where R&D should be expanded to support new areas of innovation, or to fill gaps that may hinder economic growth, he said.

Innovation often occurs at the intersection of major technology sectors, noted Jan Youtie, director of policy research services in Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute. Studying the relationships between different areas can help suggest where the innovation is occurring and what technologies are fueling it. Patent maps can also show how certain disciplines evolve.

"You can see where the portfolio is, and how it is changing," explained Youtie, who is also an adjunct associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. "In the case of nanotechnology, for example, you can see that most of the patents are in materials and physics, though over time the number of patents in the bio-nano area is growing."

The patent mapping research, which was supported by the National Science Foundation, will be described in a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). In addition to Youtie and Porter, the research was conducted by former Georgia Tech graduate student Luciano Kay, now a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California Santa Barbara.

"The goal for this research was to create a new type of global patent map that was not tied into existing patent classification systems," Kay said. "We also wanted an approach that would classify patents into categories or clusters in a graphical representation of interrelated technologies even though they may be located in different sections and levels of the standard patent classification."

The International Patent Classification (IPC) system is based on a hierarchy of eight top-level classes such as "human necessity" and "electricity." Patent applications are further classified into 600 or so sub-classes beneath the top-level classes.

Critics note that the IPC brings together technologies such as drugs and hats under the "human necessity" class -- technologies that are not really closely related. The system also puts technologies that are closely related -- pharmaceuticals and organic chemistry, for instance -- into different classes.

The new Patent Overlay Mapping system does away with this hierarchy, and instead considers the similarity between technologies by noting connections between patents -- which ones are cited by other patents.

"We completely disaggregated the patient classification system and looked at all the categories with at least a thousand patents," Youtie explained. "We think our map gets closer to measuring the ideas of technological similarity and distance."

Maps produced by the system provide visual information relating the distances between technologies. The maps can also highlight the density of patenting activity, showing where investments are being made. And they can show gaps where future R&D investments may be needed to provide connections between related technologies.

The researchers produced a series of patent maps by applying their new system to 760,000 patent records filed in the European Patent Office between 2000 and 2006. The data came from the PatSat database, and was analyzed using a variety of tools, including the VantagePoint software developed by Intelligent Information Services Corp. of Norcross, along with Georgia Tech.

One surprise in the work was the interdisciplinary nature of many of the 35 patent factors the researchers identified. For instance, the classification "vehicles" included six of the eight sections defined by the IPC system. Only five of the 35 factors were confined to a single section, Youtie said.

Because the researchers adopted a new classification system, other researchers wanting to follow their approach will have use a thesaurus that translates existing IPC classes to the new system. That conversion system is available online.

In addition to those already mentioned, the research team also included Ismael Rafols of Universitat Politecnica de Valencia in Spain and Nils Newman of Intelligent Information Services Corp.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. The original article was written by John Toon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "New patent mapping system helps find innovation pathways." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114145428.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2014, January 14). New patent mapping system helps find innovation pathways. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114145428.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "New patent mapping system helps find innovation pathways." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114145428.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Keep Your Android Device Safe This Holiday Season

How to Keep Your Android Device Safe This Holiday Season

Howdini (Nov. 24, 2014) Protect yourself against malware and hackers, especially during the hectic online shopping season. Mobile device security makes a great holiday gift and protects your loved ones from cyber attacks and identity theft. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Keep You and Your Family's Identitiy Safe Online This Holiday Season

How to Keep You and Your Family's Identitiy Safe Online This Holiday Season

Howdini (Nov. 24, 2014) The hectic holiday season is a prime time for online identity theft, so make sure you’re protected.Be cautious when shopping online Internet security software makes a great holiday gift and protects your loved ones from cyber attacks and identity theft. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins