Intellectual Property Strategy
Contributing to Business Through Intellectual Property
We engage in various activities to support implementation of the Hitachi High-Tech business strategy, such as protecting intellectual property (IP) created within the company by such means as patents, designs, trademarks, and so on, and devising measures to identify IP risks and avert them in advance. We are also taking on the challenge of activities to support the expansion of business and creation of new business through the analysis of IP information and other such resources.
As the digital transformation (DX) progresses, it has become necessary not only to be cognizant of the scope of intellectual property rights in patents, designs, trademarks, and so on, but also to pursue IP activities that extend to the data. For example, with customers who use our equipment, when data acquired from the equipment is to be analyzed by AI, it is necessary to take into consideration such matters as the extent to which Hitachi High-Tech can use the raw data, training data sets, models and parameters that have been learned, and so on.
In cases where the company makes use of external resources, such as with M&A and collaboration with other companies, we are investigating the IP status of the candidate under consideration in order to support the evaluation of the candidate and to address various problems related to IP that emerge with collaboration.
Protecting Intellectual Property Rights and Respecting IP
We promote the formulation and implementation of IP activity plans in line with our business strategy. We are taking steps to secure IP both from the perspective of competition, meaning barriers to entry, constraints on competitors' efforts to follow after us, and the balance with our competitors in IP capabilities, and from the perspective of collaborative creation, meaning the creation of alliances and bonding with customers and partners. We envision patterns of IP use and consider what kind of intellectual property rights it is necessary to protect, and with what timing, in order to implement the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle in our activities. We are also coordinating with business departments with respect to trademark strategies in order to increase the brand value of our products and services.
We seek to ensure that others respect our IP rights while we also respect 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 with IP created during the collaboration process. The handling of IP that cannot be fully protected by IP rights alone, such as data and knowhow, is particularly important. Regarding that, we provide support from the intellectual property perspective for everything 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 with 12 in-house attorneys and two PhD holders (total figures as of April 2022). While taking steps to develop human resources capable of handling business globalization, we are aiming to build an organization that can make good use of the diverse experiences possessed by individuals.
In addition to implementing IP education for employees, we are taking steps to energize IP creation activities by employees by establishing an improved inventor incentive program and an IP commendation system. We have arranged to review these systems as necessary in response to changes in the business environment and so on.
Enhancing Overseas IP to Support the Globalization of Our Business
The Hitachi High-Tech Group ratio of overseas revenues for FY2021 exceeded 70%. We are dealing with this kind of globalization of business by strengthening our overseas patent applications and acquisitions of rights while also continuing to pursue measures against counterfeit products that make use of our trademark rights. In FY2021, overseas patent applications made up approximately 72% of our total applications. We are also providing support for IP activities by overseas group companies, such as assistance in formulating IP policies concerning development.
* Data for each fiscal year is the data collated as of May of the following fiscal year
Intellectual Property and SDGs*2
Mapping Hitachi High-Tech Group's 700-Plus Patent Families*3to SDGs
WIPO*4 Director-General Daren Tang has observed that innovation is one of the keys to attaining the SDGs, and that intellectual property is a key driver of innovation.*5 To symbolize his words, it has brought attention to the connection between intellectual property and the SDGs.
The patent analysis software PatentSight from LexisNexis provides a function for mapping patents to SDGs. According to this function, Hitachi High-Tech Group's 755 patent families have been mapped to SDGs*6. The most frequently mapped of those SDGs is Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and 60% of these patent families are mapped to Goal 9.
We will contribute to attaining the SDGs by providing society (our customers) with products and services that are developed, manufactured, and implemented using the intellectual property of this Group.
*2 SDGs : Sustainable Development Goals
*3 Patent family: A group of inventions for which patent applications have been made in various countries based on a certain invention.
*4 WIPO : World Intellectual Property Organization
*5 WIPO, “WIPO and the Sustainable Development Goals. Innovation driving human progress,” 2021
*6 The Hitachi High-Tech IP Division investigated this using PatentSight, covering patents that were valid as of June 23, 2022.