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Hitachi

Hitachi High-Technologies GLOBAL

Intellectual Property Strategy/System

Contributing to Business Through Intellectual Property

Our core IP activities include creation, development, and utilization of intellectual property, such as patents, designs, and trademarks, as well as policies therefor. In addition to those activities, we have set up a new IP strategy department in FY2019 and built a support system for business activities as part of our IP Division, for the purpose of expanding our service and solutions business, and strengthening our response to open innovation utilizing external resources such as collaboration with other companies and M&As.
Over the last few years, as IoT technology has developed, the scope of IP has expanded to include data and other information resources. For example, when various solutions are provided to customers who use devices by utilizing the data obtained from those devices, issues with the ownership of the information resources and the secondary use arise in relation to the following: who possesses the knowhow and analysis methods and—particularly when AI is applied—the raw data, data sets for learning, and learned models and parameters; and to what extent the company can use the data. The IP Division negotiates with customers and obtains their consent in order to include those points in contracts prior to providing services and solutions, and provides business support from a specialist position.
In addition, although we were self-sufficiency-oriented, focusing on in-house development, open innovation utilizing external resources through collaboration with other companies and M&As is increasing. We assess collaboration partners with respect to such matters as whether their IP is suitable for our business purpose and does not infringe on other companies’ patents, and we resolve the various IP issues that arise in collaboration with companies from different backgrounds in terms of country and industry by using contract schemes. In this way we contribute to business activities from the aspect of intellectual property.

Initiatives

Patent Creation and Development Activities, and Respecting IP

We promote the formulation and implementation of IP activity plans in line with our business strategy. One of the main activities is securing IP rights for the IP we create. The IP rights can be used for restraining competition, alliance tools, securing design freedom through cross-licensing with other companies, disseminating in-house technology through licensing, and visualization of in-house technological capabilities. We are ensuring the PDCA cycle by assuming terms of use, and considering what IP needs to be provided at what timing.
We are also coordinating with business departments with respect to trademark strategies in order to increase the value of our product brands. In addition, we seek to ensure that others respect our IP rights while respecting the IP rights of others.

Measures for Services and Solutions

There is demand for solutions using physical and non-physical things. In the solutions business, collaboration with customers and partners is the key. It is vital to deal with IP provided to customers and partners and that created during the collaboration process, and especially data and knowhow, which cannot be completely secured with only IP rights. Regarding that, we provide total support, from non-disclosure agreements at the proof of concept (PoC) phase, to co-development agreements, and contracts at the commercialization phase, to ensure a win-win relationship with customers and partners.

Enhancing Professional Development and Ensuring an IP Incentive and Award Program

The IP Division is a group of specialists, including 12 in-house patent attorneys and 2 PhD holders (total figures as of April 2019). It is working to foster human resources that possess excellent professional skills and the ability to cope with the globalization of business in order to strengthen IP activities.
Moreover, we have a robust invention incentive program designed to encourage employees who work on the front lines of research and development to make inventions, as well as an IP award program we are revising according to business changes with the aim of further increasing the motivation of inventors.

Enhancing Overseas IP to Support the Globalization of Our Business

The Hitachi High-Tech Group generates the majority of its revenues from sales overseas, primarily in Asia. To adapt to such globalization in our business, we are strengthening our patent applications and acquisition of grants in the West and Asia, while also continuing our measures against counterfeit products that make use of our trademarks. We are also working to further improve cost efficiency. For instance, when there is little need to apply for Japanese patents, which we had applied for as a matter of course until now, we now only apply for overseas patents. In FY2018, overseas applications accounted for about 68% of our total applications. In addition, we are responding to the shift in development to overseas group companies by providing support in matters such as drafting IP policy and securing IP rights.

IP Data
FY 2015 2016 2017 2018
Patent Applications 1,002 927 980 1,290
  Domestic 327 278 350 410
Overseas 675 649 630 880
Patents Owned 7,400 7,469 7,930 8,140
  Domestic 3,758 3,698 3,820 3,840
Overseas 3,642 3,771 4,110 4,300
  • * Data for each fiscal year is collated in May of the following fiscal year