Intellectual Property Initiatives

Toshiba Group believes that proper management and utilization of intellectual properties is essential to enhance corporate value. 
Toshiba Group aims to strategically utilize intellectual property to realize DE, DX, and QX, increase opportunities to find solutions to social issues, and enhance our corporate value.

FY2022 Achievements

  • Selected as Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators™ for the 12th consecutive year
  • FY2022 National Commendation for Invention – The Invention Prize
  • Ranked 1st in Japan, the U.S., and Europe in the comprehensive patent ranking for rechargeable lithium ion batteries-related technology
  • Held Toshiba Group Patent Conference 2022; Awards presentation by 9 particularly outstanding inventions, accompanied by online special lectures and webinars

Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy

Intellectual Property Policy

Toshiba Group’s basic policy on intellectual property rights is to comply with laws and regulations associated with intellectual property rights, to protect the results of intellectual activities with intellectual property rights, make extensive use of those results, and to respect the legitimate intellectual property rights of third parties. This policy is stipulated in the Standards of Conduct for Toshiba Group.
We will be engaged in activities designed to strengthen the intellectual property abilities and strategic concept planning that support our strong lineup of technologies and products, and will increase the number of opportunities available for us to proactively leverage our intellectual properties to resolve social issues, helping maximize our corporate value.

Intellectual Property Policy

1.Toshiba Group Corporate Policy
Toshiba Group Companies shall:

1. comply with all applicable laws and regulations associated with patent law, copyright law and other intellectual property rights (Note) laws; and

2. protect the results of intellectual activities with intellectual property rights, make extensive use of those rights, and respect the legitimate intellectual property rights of third parties.

2.SOC for Toshiba Group Directors and Employees
Directors and Employees shall:

1. proactively acquire and utilize intellectual property rights in order to strengthen business competitiveness;

2. understand and observe company rules providing that intellectual property rights in any invention, utility model, design for or actual work, such as mask work (i.e., the layout of an integrated circuit chip), computer program or digital content, that is determined to have been made by anyone during the period of his or her services for or employment by a Toshiba Group Company, and the ability to apply for such rights, belong to the Toshiba Group Company;

3. adequately maintain intellectual property rights and take appropriate measures against infringement of these rights by a third party; and

4. respect and take due care of the legitimate intellectual property rights of third parties.

Herein, "intellectual property rights" means patent rights, utility model rights, design patent rights, trademarks, copyrights, mask work rights, trade secrets, and any other such rights.

Intellectual Property Strategy

Toshiba Group aims to strategically utilize intellectual property to realize DE, DX, and QX, increase opportunities to find solutions to social issues, and maximize our corporate value. We are promoting a cycle of “taking a comprehensive overview to develop an intellectual property strategy,” “restructuring intellectual property,” and “opening up intellectual property.”
“Taking a comprehensive overview to develop an intellectual property strategy” is the most important step. From the upstream stage of developing a business concept, we take a comprehensive overview of the situation from various perspectives, including a variety of environmental changes, the core values of the Company (intellectual assets), and business strategies, and consider how to use intellectual property and how to link it to business values. In considering these things, we also break down our internal rigidity by adopting a business concept based on the transformation to DE and DX, and the utilization of data.
“Restructuring intellectual property” is a step to organize intellectual property items such as patents, data, and know-how when implementing the envisioned intellectual property strategy. After identifying and organizing the intellectual property items that we have, we can acquire any intellectual property items that we are lacking to maximize our intellectual property portfolio. This allows us to improve the quality of our intellectual assets. Since it is essential to manage confidential information regarding data and know-how, we are also committed to ensuring thorough management of the Company’s confidential information so as to prevent leaks.
“Opening up intellectual property” is the step of co-creation with partners by utilizing intellectual property. Even social issues that cannot be solved by the Company alone can be solved through co-creation with partners. For this reason, we will break down external rigidity by promoting co-creation with partners using intellectual property as the starting point, and this will lead to an increase in opportunities to find solutions to social issues and the maximization of our corporate value.

Toshiba Group’s intellectual property strategy

Reflecting our global expansion, more than half of our patent applications are filed with foreign countries, particularly in the United States and China. We select and file for patent items in each business domain so that we can create an optimal portfolio based on our intellectual property strategy. The number of patent applications we have made this past three years is as detailed below:

Number and Breakdown of Patents Filed (from April 2020 to March 2023)

On May 30, 2023, the Japan Patent Office published the results of an analysis of patent information based on the Green Transformation Technologies Inventory (GXTI). In terms of the number of patent families (years of priority claim: 2010-2021), the Company ranks in the top eight (7,665 patent families). We have also applied for many patents related to Green Transformation (GX).

Each year, we evaluate all of our registered patents owned, and create an optimal portfolio based on such evaluation results for each business domain. The status of patents owned as of March 2023 is as follows.

Number and Breakdown of Patents Owned (as of March 2023)

Specific initiatives related to intellectual property

Promotion Structure of Intellectual Property Strategy

The organizational structure of the Intellectual Property Division is composed of the corporate staff division’s Intellectual Property Office, and the intellectual property divisions at our individual laboratories and key Group companies. The corporate staff division’s Intellectual Property Office is responsible for, related to intellectual property across Toshiba Group, formulating and promoting strategy and measures, handling contracts and disputes, managing patent information and deals with matters related to intellectual property right laws, such as the Copyright Law. Meanwhile, the intellectual property divisions of research laboratories and Group companies formulate intellectual property strategies in their respective development and business domains and work to build and utilize an optimal intellectual property portfolio. We have intellectual property officers located in both the United States and China to help promote out intellectual property strategy globally.
With regard to management resource allocation, including investment in intellectual property, and the execution of strategies relating to our business portfolio, each of our executive officers report to the Board of Directors on the status of their respective initiatives, whereupon they receive supervision and advice.

Toshiba Group Intellectual Property Management Structure

Evaluation of Intellectual Property Rights

In order to create an optimal portfolio for its businesses, each year, Toshiba Group extracts all of its existing patents and design patents that have been registered, evaluates all of the respective rights, and determines whether or not it is necessary to maintain those rights. Any registered patents and design patents that have no prospect of their rights being utilized or for which there is less value in continuing to hold be abandoned, with resources reallocated to acquiring or maintaining rights in other key domains.
Further, the results of such rights evaluations shall be used to remunerate the inventors and creators responsible for outstanding inventions so as to provide an incentive for the creation of new inventions and designs.

Education on Intellectual Property

Toshiba Group provides its employees in Japan with e-learning type training each year for the purpose of refreshing their awareness of the Standards of Conduct regarding intellectual property rights and, primarily, for alerting them to copyright issues. The participation rate in FY2022 was 99.6%.
Newly hired employees are provided with general training on intellectual property rights as part of the Corporate Entry Program (CEP), which is followed by level-specific education/training programs in line with each business division.
We have established a basic training program for intellectual property officers with the education covering areas such as knowledge-acquisition of both domestic and overseas intellectual property rights, preparation of patent specification documents, practical training with office action, and on-the-job training, so that they will be able to put their training into practice in two years.
In addition, we provide education at our overseas subsidiaries that is appropriate for each region. For example, our Chinese subsidiaries provide copyright training on the proper use of software, and our U.S. subsidiaries provide intellectual property training targeting both newly hired and existing employees.

In addition, we provide copyright education on such topics as proper use of software at our overseas subsidiaries in China, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. For example, our U.S. subsidiaries provide education programs appropriate for the region, such as intellectual property education, for all employees using LMS (Learning Management System).

Toshiba Group Patent Conference

Toshiba Group holds the Toshiba Group Patent Conference each year, where it awards particularly outstanding inventions with “Excellent Invention Award”.

In FY2022, we held an awards ceremony for the first time in four years, where we granted 5 Business Contribution Prizes to commemorate inventions that had made significant contributions to the Company’s business, and 4 Future Value Creation Prizes in commemoration of inventions which we expect will contribute to business or provide value to society in future.

Representatives of the award winners
CEO message

The final stage of the conference also featured a special lecture from a guest lecturer and a number of webinars themed around the topic of how intellectual properties extend across multiple sectors with the aim of cultivating an intellectual property mindset and discovering new aspects of intellectual property activities. Moving forward, we will continue to provide an environment that facilitates employees to create inventions, and will strive to improve employees’ motivation for invention.

Protection of Toshiba Brand

The Toshiba brand symbolizes the value of Toshiba Group as a corporation, and the value of the products or services that we offer. In order to ensure the protection of the Toshiba brand, we manage trademark rights and remove counterfeit products.
Failure to take action against counterfeits of Toshiba products would pose not only the risk of damage to Toshiba's brand value and public confidence, but also the risk of purchasing counterfeit products that do not meet the quality expectations of customers who mistake them for genuine products, as well as an increased risk of an accident occurring. For this reason, we strive to eradicate counterfeit products, collaborating with domestic and overseas anti-counterfeit organizations, and are actively appealing to local bodies such as government agencies for more stringent control.

Trends in Incidents of Counterfeit Products up to FY2022

Breakdown of Incidents of Counterfeit Products by Country and Region in FY2022

Participation in External Organizations and Initiatives

Participation in WIPO GREEN

In order to contribute to global environmental conservation through the utilization of patents and other intellectual properties, Toshiba has registered environmental technology-related patent rights with WIPO GREEN, a platform operated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to promote global transfer of environmental technology. Toshiba will continue working through this initiative to roll out environment-related technologies and intellectual properties worldwide, thus helping to resolve climate change and other environment-related social issues and contributing to the fulfillment of the SDGs.

Evaluation by External Parties

Selected for Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators™ 2023

Clarivate, a global information services company, has selected Toshiba for 12 years running as one of the Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators, a list of the best 100 innovative companies and institutions around the world, based on Clarivate’s patent data analyses.

Winner of FY2022 National Commendation for Invention – The Invention Prize

Invention of weather radar having interference avoidance function of wireless LAN(Patent No. JP6383134)

An invention related to weather radars developed to avoid interference from Wireless LAN(WLAN) received the FY2022 National Commendation for Invention – The Invention Prize.
This invention relates to a weather radar that avoids radio wave interference from WLAN and achieves accurate weather observation.
WLANs are equipped with DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) to avoid radio wave interference to weather radars, etc. However, DFS does not work with older types of wireless LANs, thereby affecting weather observations. Therefore, we invented a weather radar that can avoid radio wave interference by transmitting a special pulse pattern to activate the DFS on the WLAN side when a signal from a WLAN is detected.
Toshiba delivered a weather radar equipped with this function to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2021. This invention has contributed to frequency sharing amond the 5 GHz band (C band) weather radar and 5 GHz WLAN.

Toshiba Ranks No. 1 in Japan, the United States and Europe in Patent Strength in Key Lithium-ion Battery Technology

An independent survey has once again confirmed Japan’s Toshiba Corporation as the clear leader in Japan, the United States and Europe for patents covering oxide-based negative electrode technology for lithium-ion batteries. Conducted in September 2022 by Tokyo-based Patent Result Co., Ltd. (Patent Result), the result is a repeat of a 2016 survey by the same company and underlines Toshiba’s No. 1 position and strength-in-depth in this essential area.
Over more than 20 years, Toshiba has raised the competitiveness of its battery business and built a world-class patent portfolio by refining the results of its Lithium Titanium Oxide R&D, selecting developments aligned with its business plans, and strategically filing patent applications. It has also expanded and reinforced the business by using the patents to build alliances with co-creators. In both the 2016 and 2022 Patent Result surveys, Toshiba scored high on quantity and quality and comprehensive patent strengths, far outdistancing competitors awarded patents in Japan, the US and Europe. Toshiba attributes this No. 1 position to a research strategy that has concentrated on developing advanced technological capabilities and registering and using high quality patents acquired over the years.

Japan: Lithium-ion Battery Oxide-based Negative Electrode Technology Patent Holder Score Map

Questionnaire for Sustainability Website

Your comments and suggestions will be appreciated.
Your responses will be SSL encrypted and protected. If your browser does not support SSL or if your network connection is via an intranet protected by a firewall, you may not be able to access the questionnaire page.
Your comments and suggestions may be referred to in the next report.