Toyobo Group aims to be "a corporate group that continues to create solutions required by humans and Earth by making use of materials and science." To achieve this goal, Toyobo innovates based on the following four core technologies to contribute toward the resolving of social issues: polymer technology, environment technology, comfort engineering technology, and biomedical technology. Furthermore, Toyobo actively establishes patents and other intellectual property rights for its accomplishments and exercises them to stabilize its solution business and realize high profitability, contributing to sustainable growth at Toyobo.
Intellectual Property Strategy
Toyobo carries out intellectual property activities in a manner consistent with its business strategy and R&D strategy. It has achieved superiority for its products by building a high-quality patent portfolio that chiefly consists of dominant patents, while also including subservient patents. Toyobo actively applies for foreign patents in accordance with its business plan as well. While respecting the intellectual property rights of others, Toyobo takes appropriate measures if its intellectual property rights are infringed. It also effectively utilizes trademark rights and industrial design rights in accordance with the type of business in question.
Intellectual Property Activities
Intellectual property activities are annually reported to and deliberated at the intellectual property committee created under the sustainability committee at Toyobo and while such activities are being promoted, they are checked for compliance with the company-wide policy.
The Intellectual Property Department performs intellectual property activities in cooperation with Toyobo’s business and R&D departments. An intellectual property liaison person is assigned to each department to improve the effectiveness of intellectual property activities. Toyobo holds patent consideration meetings and patent reviews tied to design reviews to enhance its patents and respect other companies' patents.
Toyobo also utilizes intellectual property information actively. Toyobo analyzes patent and other information to learn about technological and market trends and promote activities to leverage this information for business and R&D strategy.
Toyobo also directs its efforts toward improving the efficiency and sophistication of tasks by utilizing digital technologies. Toyobo has been a pioneer in introducing a workflow system and has started going paperless. In addition, Toyobo is improving task efficiency by utilizing robotic process automation.
Invention Incentive System
Toyobo has established a patent award system to encourage its employees to create inventions. Toyobo awards prizes to the inventors of patents that contribute to Toyobo's profits above a certain level and gives them bounties (with no maximum limit) in accordance with the profit earned by their patents. To award prizes to inventors at an early stage, Toyobo also gives an "application prize" to the inventors of patents that are expected to contribute to Toyobo’s profit in the future. In addition, to invigorate its solution business, Toyobo plans to start an "excellent solution patent application prize" in FY2022 that will be given to the inventors of patents that have great potential for contributing toward the resolving of social issues.
Intellectual Property Education
Toyobo conducts systematic intellectual property education that suits each employee’s job group and function. For engineers, Toyobo holds practical patent seminars that enable them to learn about patents during a three-year period after they join Toyobo. Furthermore, Toyobo conducts specialized education on patent searches and creating patent application specifications. The education provides practical lectures that give not only classroom training but also hands-on training. In addition to engineers, Toyobo also gives sales personnel education on what they need to know about intellectual property.
Note 1: Number of patents applied, number of patents held
The numbers include the number of patents applied and the number of patents held by the former Toyobo Film Solutions Limited, which was integrated with us through an absorption-type merger on April 1, 2021.
Note 2: Intellectual property costs
The cost includes the intellectual property costs of the former Toyobo Film Solutions Limited, which became Toyobo's subsidiary on October 1, 2019.
Top Position in Total Power Ranking of Patents for Polymer Film/Sheet Related Technologies
Toyobo gained the top position in the total power ranking of patents for polymer film/sheet related technologies by Patent Result Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Representative Director and President: Takashi Shirayama; hereinafter referred to as "Patent Result") on September 17, 2021*.
This ranking was calculated by Patent Result based on a "patent score," which scores the degree of attention given to each patent for polymer film/sheet related technologies published by the Japan Patent Office.
* News release from Patent Result on September 17, 2021