Intellectual property rights are being exercised with increasing frequency in response to the diversification of business activities, from licensing to the pursuit of alliances and mergers and acquisitions. We established a specialized negotiations team within the Intellectual Property Department to support its various business segments by handling the negotiation and signing of technology contracts with partners as well as performing due diligence.
Through cooperative efforts with patent firms in Japan and major overseas countries, we are focusing our energy on securing the intellectual property rights necessary for business development. In particular, we are strengthening cooperation with overseas patent firms through direct communication with patent attorneys and the dispatch of trainees. To secure a strong patent portfolio, we are also engaging in direct interviews, negotiations, and technology presentations with each country’s examiners. In addition, with the support of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), we address pressing issues besetting emerging nations, such as counterfeit products, while lobbying governmental organizations. In these ways, we remain apprised of the patent-related problems and implement robust countermeasures.
Patent laws are set independently by each country, and the application for as well as the receipt and maintenance of patents requires adherence to said laws. With a rising number of corporations pursuing global expansion, there has recently been a global trend toward patent law revision aimed at facilitating swift patent acquisition and harmonization, including by ironing out differences between laws, rules, and examination processes. Because of this, in the countries in which they operate or their products are sold, businesses have to pay close attention to every law revision and new piece of legislation. In line with the globalization of business, the Intellectual Property Department stays informed of changes in relevant laws and examination processes used by individual countries and regions, from the United States to Europe, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and others, and takes these changes into account during daily intellectual property activities.
To beat global competition, it is imperative that the Idemitsu Group understand the strengths and weaknesses of its intellectual properties within the industry while comparing and analyzing the competitiveness of rival companies. To create our own strategies leveraging our strengths, we have established a specialized patent information group because it is important to examine and analyze large numbers of patent abstracts around the world.