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Search Japanese Patents for Navigation System or GPS

It may be difficult for other firms to Search Japanese patent and non-patent literatures in the field of navigation system because of the large number of documents, complexity of the difference in IP system, language barrier, etc., but this is the area we have experience and expertise.

An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation device designed for use in automobiles. A navigation system or car navigator today typically uses a GPS navigation device to acquire position data to locate the user (the car) on a road in the unit's map database. With the road database provided, the unit can give directions and information to other locations along roads.

Japan is the leading country in navigation system development and has filed about 6000 patent documents annually that contain the word of "navigation system" (please refer to the table below). A company named Alpine claims it has created the first automotive navigation system in 1981. This system is an analog automotive navigation product called the Electro Gyrocator co-developed with Honda and had been used in Honda Accord in 1981.

Other Japanese companies that have filed patents for navigation systems include Nissan, Mitsubishi Electric, Pioneer, Aishin AW, Panasonic. Denso, Fujitsuden, Sanyo Denki, Clarion, Hitachi, Sony, Kenwood, etc.

Searching Japanese patent for navigation system or GPS is a challenging task because there are so many patents filed in this area. Because of the huge number of documents filed about this technology, we recommend to use F-term, one of the JPO unique patent classification systems.

F-term about navigation system we recommend to use in Japanese patent search:
2F129 x (AA03 + BB03 + BB20 + BB21 + BB26 + CC16 + DD21 + EE02 + EE26 + EE35 + EE39 + EE52 + EE75 + EE85 + HH12 + HH19 + HH20)

Because a examiner may miss-classify an application, in addition to the F-term, we suggest to use a combination of full text and broad classification such as IPC or FI (another unique Japan Patent Office classification system). Examples of the IPC and FI for navigation system are provided below for reference.

(G01C21/00 + G09B29/00 + G09B29/10)

(G01C21/00@G + G01C21/00@H + G09B29/00@A + G09B29/10@A)

Table 1. Number of Japanese Patent Documents Containing the Word "Navigation System"
Vs. Year of Publication
Year Number of Hits
2010 6538
2009 7520
2008 6994
2007 7275
2006 6638
2005 5880
2004 5270
2003 4441
2002 4530
2001 3403
2000 2690
1999 2444
1998 2095
1997 1738
1996 1360
1995 937
1994 670
1993 576
"Note: Full text search using Japanese synonym of "navigation system or navigator".

When searching Japan patents for navigation system or GPS, F-Theme is a good choice considering the number of patents filed at JPO is huge in this field.