Intellectual Property Management

Basic Approach

Hamamatsu Photonics's management philosophy states, "We pursue the unknown where no one has yet explored.  By leveraging photonics technology to establish new industries and reach for the world's highest levels of manufacturing excellence, we build enterprise value and contribute to the development of science and technology."

 

Development of technology backed up by knowledge, needs and competitive technologies for building the photonics industry, is the foundation of our business, and results that are obtained contribute to society through stable supply of our products. At the same time, we believe that supporting our business activities indirectly by safeguarding these results with intellectual property rights, is essential.

 

In order to carry out corporate activities under this management philosophy, corporate code of conduct was established in order to earn the trust and understanding of society by complying with the letter and spirit of laws, acting with high ethical outlook and a sense of responsibility.

 

We, the Hamamatsu Photonics group, manage our intellectual properties based on the following approach:
Our corporate code of conduct specifies that mutual intellectual property rights are to be respected in transactions. We respect the intellectual property rights of others, will take care not to infringe their rights, and will take appropriate action in managing intellectual property. At the same time, we will also utilize our intellectual property rights and take necessary and legitimate action against any conduct that would interfere with stably supplying our products of high quality.

Basic Policy of Intellectual Property ("IP") Management

(A)Acquire IP rights that are valid and effective for our business activities

  • Discover inventions, file and acquire patents that contribute to our business
  • Strengthen our IP portfolio of major products and topics

(B)Take appropriate actions regarding other parties' IP rights

  • Prevent troubles such as patent disputes by investigation and analysis of other parties' patents
  • Take appropriate actions as necessary and as required by our business needs

(C)Contribute to our business activities by utilizing our IP rights

  • Take necessary and legitimate action against infringement by third parties

(D)Provide IP information to promote research & development, and to support stable supply of our products

(E)Assist our domestic and foreign subsidiaries with IP affairs with the aim of corporate globalization

(F)Contribute to the sales and profits of our company and group through (A) - (E)

Specific Approach and Performance Results

IP staff members are assigned to each division/research lab, to work together with the departments (of the assigned division)/labs throughout the process of filing and obtaining IP rights that are based on the R&D results of the departments and labs.  By having the same IP staff member (or the same IP team) handle the case from the discovery of the invention to filing and obtaining the patent, continuous support is provided throughout the process.  Their aim is to obtain valid and effective rights that fit the current business situation, by fully understanding the R&D status, market trends, and patents held by other parties. And if these IP rights are infringed, we will take action and exercise our rights. (See "Results of Exercising our IP Rights".)

 

 The approach to handling and dealing with other parties' patents is also similar -- by having a team based around the IP staff member who works with the subject division handle the case, optimal response and action based on the current business situation is decided and taken.

 

Approximately 70% of domestically filed IP applications are filed in overseas countries (including countries where we have business operations) as well, in order to support our global business growth.  As shown in Figure 1, we have acquired approximately 700 IP rights per fiscal year worldwide.  820 were acquired in 74th fiscal year (October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021), and as of September 30, 2021, we now hold nearly 7900 IP rights worldwide (as shown in Figure 2).  Breakdown of the countries shown in Figure 3 - Japan 33%, US 21%, Europe (UK/Germany/France) 20%, Asia (China/Korea/Taiwan) 22% - closely matches the sales ratio for each region.

 

Figure 1:  Number of IP rights patented/registered, trademarks not included

Figure 2:  Number of IP rights by type (current as of Sept.30, 2021)

Figure 3:  Number of IP rights by country, trademarks not included (current as of Sept.30, 2021)

As shown in Figure 4, IP rights (patents/utility models/designs) we currently hold amount to electron tube business 32%, opto-semiconductor business 35%, imaging and measurement instruments business 13%, and others (including new business such as laser business) 20%.  80% of our IP rights provide protection for businesses that currrently lead our sales, and remaining 20% provide protection for technologies related to new businesses with good future sales prospects.

Figure 4:  Number of IP rights by business category (current as of Sept.30, 2021)