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  • Author or Editor: Janghyeok Yoon x
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Abstract

Patents constitute an up-to-date source of competitive intelligence in technological development; thus, patent analysis has been a vital tool for identifying technological trends. Patent citation analysis is easy to use, but fundamentally has two main limitations: (1) new patents tend to be less cited than old ones and may miss citations to contemporary patents; (2) citation-based analysis cannot be used for patents in databases which do not require citations. Naturally, citation-based analysis tends to underestimate the importance of new patents and may not work in rapidly-evolving industries in which technology life-cycles are shortening and new inventions are increasingly patented world-wide. As a remedy, this paper proposes a patent network based on semantic patent analysis using subject-action-object (SAO) structures. SAO structures represent the explicit relationships among components used in a patent, and are considered to represent key concepts of the patent or the expertise of the inventor. Based on the internal similarities between patents, the patent network provides the up-to-date status of a given technology. Furthermore, this paper suggests new indices to identify the technological importance of patents, the characteristics of patent clusters, and the technological capabilities of competitors. The proposed method is illustrated using patents related to synthesis of carbon nanotubes. We expect that the proposed procedure and analysis will be incorporated into technology planning processes to assist experts such as researchers and R&D policy makers in rapidly-evolving industries.

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Abstract

In the competitive business environment, early identification of technological opportunities is crucial for technology strategy formulation and research and development planning. There exist previous studies that identify technological directions or areas from a broad view for technological opportunities, while few studies have researched a way to detect distinctive patents that can act as new technological opportunities at the individual patent level. This paper proposes a method of detecting new technological opportunities by using subject–action–object (SAO)-based semantic patent analysis and outlier detection. SAO structures are syntactically ordered sentences that can be automatically extracted by natural language processing of patent text; they explicitly show the structural relationships among technological components in a patent, and thus encode key findings of inventions and the expertise of inventors. Therefore, the proposed method allows quantification of structural dissimilarities among patents. We use outlier detection to identify unusual or distinctive patents in a given technology area; some of these outlier patents may represent new technological opportunities. The proposed method is illustrated using patents related to organic photovoltaic cells. We expect that this method can be incorporated into the research and development process for early identification of technological opportunities.

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Abstract

Technology analysis is a process which uses textual analysis to detect trends in technological innovation. Co-word analysis (CWA), a popular method for technology analysis, encompasses (1) defining a set of keyword or key phrase patterns which are represented in technology-dependent terms, (2) generating a network that codifies the relations between occurrences of keywords or key phrases, and (3) identifying specific trends from the network. However, defining the set of keyword or key phrase patterns heavily relies on effort of experts, who may be expensive or unavailable. Furthermore defining keyword or key phrase patterns of new or emerging technology areas may be a difficult task even for experts. To solve the limitation in CWA, this research adopts a property-function based approach. The property is a specific characteristic of a product, and is usually described using adjectives; the function is a useful action of a product, and is usually described using verbs. Properties and functions represent the innovation concepts of a system, so they show innovation directions in a given technology. The proposed methodology automatically extracts properties and functions from patents using natural language processing. Using properties and functions as nodes, and co-occurrences as links, an invention property-function network (IPFN) can be generated. Using social network analysis, the methodology analyzes technological implications of indicators in the IPFN. Therefore, without predefining keyword or key phrase patterns, the methodology assists experts to more concentrate on their knowledge services that identify trends in technological innovation from patents. The methodology is illustrated using a case study of patents related to silicon-based thin film solar cells.

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Abstract

Companies should investigate possible patent infringement and cope with potential risks because patent litigation may have a tremendous financial impact. An important factor to identify the possibility of patent infringement is the technological similarity among patents, so this paper considered technological similarity as a criterion for judging the possibility of infringement. Technological similarities can be measured by transforming patent documents into abstracted forms which contain specific technological key-findings and structural relationships among technological components in the invention. Although keyword-based technological similarity has been widely adopted for patent analysis related research, it is inadequate for identifying patent infringement because a keyword vector cannot reflect specific technological key-findings and structural relationships among technological components. As a remedy, this paper exploited a subject–action–object (SAO) based semantic technological similarity. An SAO structure explicitly describes the structural relationships among technological components in the patent, and the set of SAO structures is considered to be a detailed picture of the inventor's expertise, which is the specific key-findings in the patent. Therefore, an SAO based semantic technological similarity can identify patent infringement. Semantic similarity between SAO structures is automatically measured using SAO based semantic similarity measurement method using WordNet, and the technological relationships among patents were mapped onto a 2-dimensional space using multidimensional scaling (MDS). Furthermore, a clustering algorithm is used to automatically suggest possible patent infringement cases, allowing large sets of patents to be handled with minimal effort by human experts. The proposed method will be verified by detecting real patent infringement in prostate cancer treatment technology, and we expect this method to relieve human experts’ work in identifying patent infringement.

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Abstract

This paper suggests a method for Subject–Action–Object (SAO) network analysis of patents for technology trends identification by using the concept of function. The proposed method solves the shortcoming of the keyword-based approach to identification of technology trends, i.e., that it cannot represent how technologies are used or for what purpose. The concept of function provides information on how a technology is used and how it interacts with other technologies; the keyword-based approach does not provide such information. The proposed method uses an SAO model and represents “key concept” instead of “key word”. We present a procedure that formulates an SAO network by using SAO models extracted from patent documents, and a method that applies actor network theory to analyze technology implications of the SAO network. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the SAO network this paper presents a case study of patents related to Polymer Electrolyte Membrane technology in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells.

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