Fundamental Intellectual Property Policy
Based on our policy of boosting the outstanding competitiveness and brand value of the Taiheiyo Cement Group via business-oriented intellectual property activities, in addition to strengthening the group’s business competitiveness by securing and utilizing intellectual property, we support the creation of an advantageous business environment by sharing information gleaned from totally new perspectives, based on an integrated analysis of information about patents, markets and the like.
System to Promote Intellectual Property Action
We have formulated and apply our Rules for Handling Intellectual Property Rights and the Taiheiyo Cement Group Intellectual Property Management Guidelines to ensure the appropriate management of intellectual property.
Based on our intellectual property promotion system, intellectual property promoters are assigned to our major business divisions and the Central Research Laboratory to stimulate intellectual property action. They promote the effective and efficient creation, protection and use of our intellectual property in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Department. We have also established the Group Intellectual Property Promotion Committee with our main group companies. We are working to promote and stimulate intellectual property activities at our group companies via workshops and exchanges of information with the Intellectual Property Department.
Outline of Our Intellectual Property
As of the end of March 2021, the company owned 1,273 domestic and 238 overseas patents, 267 domestic and 152 overseas trademarks, and 8 domestic design rights. While maintaining and improving our performance in submitting patent applications in the cement and concrete sector that contribute to national resilience, recently there has been a sudden increase in our patent applications concerning technologies that contribute to carbon neutrality.
In the process to create intellectual property we construct robust patent clusters by establishing rights to peripheral and improved technologies. As well as constructing a wide-ranging, robust intellectual property portfolio, we support business expansion by promoting a strategic mix of intellectual property that also includes assets such as trademarks and design rights.
We also appropriately manage our intellectual property rights, carrying out comprehensive evaluations of their business and technological value, and deciding whether to maintain or renounce them.
Risk Management for Intellectual Property
With regard to preventing the infringement of other companies’ rights, we strive to ascertain recent developments in our competitors’ rights via measures such as the periodic circulation of patent information, our problematic patent watch system and our intellectual property review service, and engage in thorough risk management based on our own criteria. Moreover, we boost our employees’ awareness of intellectual property risks via measures such as holding in-house training and intellectual property strategy promotion meetings with our various divisions. To date, we have never been sued for infringing intellectual property rights, and therefore have not suffered any ensuing business obstacles.
To prevent technology leaks we comprehensively assess such factors as the implementation status of the invention concerned, and the relative difficulty of confidentiality for it, make a decision on know-how concealment, and handle it carefully as a trade secret.
We are also focusing on risk strategies for overseas intellectual property in view of further expansion of our overseas business going forward. The legal systems of emerging Asian nations are different from the system in Japan. We make sure that any differences from Japan are well-known in our group companies, establish support systems that draw upon outside experts well-versed in the situation in specific countries, and carry out risk management for our intellectual property.
Action to Boost Awareness of Intellectual Property
Our steps to make employees aware of intellectual property and boost the group’s intellectual property capabilities include holding in-house training, informing employees about external training programs, and encouraging them to take the national Intellectual Property Management Skills Test.
Our in-house training program includes basic training for new recruits who have almost no experience of dealing with intellectual property, periodical courses providing patent description training for young inventors, and patent research skills training. Thanks to the addition of remote training courses, our regional branches, plants and group companies participated actively in our FY2021 in-house training program with the number of participants increasing from 90 in the previous fiscal year to 164 in FY2021.
Furthermore, utilizing classes held by external organizations such as the Japan Intellectual Property Association has made it possible for participants to select training that matches their level and needs, and we are promoting such educational and awareness programs for employees at our group companies.
A patent description workshop (also available remotely)
●In-house Attendance at Intellectual Property Training Sessions (FY2021)
|Training Content||Taiheiyo Cement Corporation||Group companies||Total|
As part of our action to boost awareness, we also have a reward system for inventors and run the Intellectual Property Award Program for employees who contribute to excellent inventions or intellectual property activities.