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  • Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2011) xxx–xxx

    TFS-17388; No of Pages 17

    Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

    Technological Forecasting & Social Change

    A New Comprehensive Patent Analysis Approach for New Product Design in Mechanical Engineering

    Kuang OuYang a, Calvin S. Weng b,⁎ a Department of Business Administration, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Yunlin, Taiwan b Department of Banking and Finance, Takming University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    ⁎ Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: (K. O

    0040-1625/$ – see front matter © 2011 Elsevier Inc. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2011.02.012

    Please cite this article as: K. OuYang, C.S. Mechanical Engineering, Technol. Forecas

    a b s t r a c t

    Article history: Received 15 December 2009 Received in revised form 19 February 2011 Accepted 23 February 2011 Available online xxxx

    This study proposes a five-phase procedure for a new product design process. Based on the concept of “focus first, then extend”, this study presents a new approach called the New Comprehensive Patent Analysis model (NCPA) which combines the patent family with patent citation analysis in a new product design process. The procedure includes the following features: (1) integrating the perspective of management-based and technology-based design for patent searching, (2) building a patent family based on industry basic patents, (3) filtering the patent family to obtain key patents, (4) utilizing patent citations to gain necessary technology information in product development design, and (5) combining TRIZ theory to construct patent technology performance maps, and to discover product niches. This NCPA model is empirically applied in a real case. The results show that the NCPA improves the overall efficiency of new product designs, but also involves higher cost than other approaches.

    © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Keywords: Patent analysis Patent family Patent citation New product design

    1. Introduction

    Prior researchers have proposed several different approaches for New Product Development (NPD) [1–4]. Many studies have also suggested that in order to meet customer needs, Quality Functional Development (QFD) should be applied during the product planning stage to ensure awareness of the voice of the customer [5]. However, QFD should be adjusted according to the differences among the various industry fields and their product characteristics [6]. Because of TRIZ is capable of analyzing engineering technical issues, resolving contradictions and producing systematic innovation, Kim and Cochran recommended that TRIZ is a powerful and efficient tool for the phase of NPD concept design [7]. Therefore, Yamashina et al. further proposed the model of Innovative Product Development Process (IPDP) to be systematically integrated with QFD and TRIZ, so as to enhance the performance of technical innovation [8].

    Management of patent rights is the key to business intellectual property, and has a highly positive correlation between patents and enterprise market value [9–13]. However, the IPDP model does not include the procedure of patent analysis. Without patent analysis and a proper patent portfolio, the following issues may occur: (1) failure to translate intellectual property into market value, (2) failure to utilize intellectual property capital and convert it into financial capital, (3) lack of offensive capability, and (4) lack of bargaining power in patent authorization.

    The patent analysis procedure is a complex and time-consuming task in R&D management [14–17]. Especially, when the volume of patents is huge, it may cause analysis problems of inaccurately targeting and failing to lock-on to the right subjects during the design-around. Therefore, how to focus on some key patents will become an ever more important issue. Moreover, insufficient patent information prevents designers from utilizing the results of analysis in NPD process. As patent analysis techniques are developed, the patent family and patent citations can provide important information for business intelligence and

    uYang), (C.S. Weng).

    All rights reserved.

    Weng, A New Comprehensive Patent Analysis Approach for New Product Design in t. Soc. Change (2011), doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2011.02.012

  • 2 K. OuYang, C.S. Weng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change xxx (2011) xxx–xxx

    for technology management and strategy formation reference. For example, a patent family is formed on the basis of priority, and patent intelligence is acquired through patent citations. How to implement the above into NPD in order to enhance product performance, to protect innovation and to construct patent portfolio is becoming an important issue today.

    In sum, using a patent family and patent citation analysis can help to enhance new product design, whichwas neglected in past research. This study proposes a patent analysis model called the New Comprehensive Patent Analysis process (NCPA) to integrate a patent family and patent citations within the phase of NPD, and to complement the procedure of the IPDP model. This paper is structured as follows: Section 2 is the literature review of the patent family and patent citations. Section 3 introduces themodeling of NCPA. Section 4 is the empirical study of a real case, and the final section includes conclusions and discussions.

    2. Literature review

    According to Berkowitz's study, patent analysis helps to discover not only technical niches but also uncovered areas [18]. Chen and Chen conducted technical clusters by using a patent map, and further developed a design strategy through observing the distribution of 96 patents of bicycle parts in the period of 1992 to 2003 [17]. There are some defects in Chen and Chens' study: first, the research neglected the heterogeneousness of patents. In other words, not every patent is of the same value [19]. This caused biases and inaccurate information making it difficult to create a design-around strategy. Second, the research failed to recognize the importance of “Claim” and “Drawing” in patent documents. Third, the value of prior art was not utilized, and the possible applicable fields of patents were not analyzed.Without accurate information, in such circumstances, engineers rely on nothing but their profession and limited creativity. In sum, the concepts proposed by the aforementioned research did not necessarily help to solve the engineering problems in the phase of detail design.

    2.1. Patent family

    A patent family, which is derived from the concept of priority, is a group of related patent publications (including applications and granted patents) describing the same invention. The first application filed is the priority application, and subsequent filings within 12 months after the priority application will list this number [20]. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) even extends the priority to 30 months after first application. In a narrow sense of theword, a patent family is a set of patents taken in various countries to protect a single invention. On the other hand, a patent family can also be a series of patent applications derived from the same core technology and its relevant patent portfolios in other countries [21]. On the contrary, a patent family can be broadly defined as a company's highly similar or related patent portfolio. Based on this definition, a competitor's most representative patent can be specified and identified for design-round during the NPD process through patent family analysis.

    Fig. 1 illustrates an example of a patent family. According to the definition of a patent family by the Europe Patent Office, Patent IV is a Continuations in Part (CIP) of Patents I, II and III. Patents I, II and III are applied for in countries C, B and A, respectively. Patent IV, IV′, and IV″ are also applied for in country B. In the case, the Patent IV″ is a Divisional Applications (DIV) of Patent IV′, and is also the Continuations Application (CA) of Patent IV. The Patent Family is then formed as Fig. 1. Patents I, II, III, and Patents IV and IV′ are the priority to Patent IV″ as well. Looking at the application process of each patent within the patent family, it is obvious that the priority of prior art lead to changes of claims, including identical claims, partially identical claims, new claims, or divisional claims to prior art. These changes not only show a company's efforts on claiming the validity of novelty but also demonstrate its deployment of a patent portfolio [22].

    The International Patent Documentation Center database (INPADOC) of the Europe Patent Office (EPO) is currently the most complete extended patent family database. INPADOC currently integrates patent data from 42 Patent Offices across 80 countries, which includes priority application numbers, application numbers, publication numbers, and legal status database additional information. Therefore, patent family information for a certain patent can be rapidly obtained through INPADOC, and the legal

    Patent I

    Patent II

    Patent III

    Patent IV Patent IV’ Patent IV”

    Country A

    Country B

    Country C CIP



    CA DIV

    Fig. 1. Patent family.

    Please cite this article as: K. OuYang, C.S. Weng, A New Comprehensive