October 15, 2013
Epson explained that the international environment surrounding IP has been undergoing “significant change” in recent years due to “the acceleration of the globalisation of economic activity” which has seen emerging economies such as China applying for more and more patents and an increasing number of lawsuits concerning IP occurring in these countries.
As a result, the OEM said that companies like itself are looking to create “worthwhile” IP to “protect their businesses and to increase the motivation of employees”. It added that it is “necessary to erect barriers” protecting Epson’s technologies through “strong” IP, which the company said is “an important and current future management resource”.
IP actions taken by Epson, the company said, are guided by the encouragement of inventions that help increase the value of its products and services; the protection and strategic employment of inventions; the protection of IP by taking action against third parties who infringe Epson’s patents; and the respect of patents of third parties, ensuring that Epson’s business activities do not infringe them.
Explaining the concept and strategy of its IP programme, Epson listed four main components: a portfolio strategy; IP usage strategy; the provision of an IP programme platform; and the newly developed Dolphin Project, which is described as “a strategic IP programme that provides developers with IP tools and total support” in selecting “development projects based on analyses of patent applications by others”. Epson added that maintaining a balanced approach to conducting these four actions will contribute to “stable high profit margins”.
In terms of where Epson is ranked regarding the number of patents it has registered in different countries, in 2012 it was 13th in Japan, 12th in the US and 15th in China; with the company also adding that “a lot of stress is being placed on overseas applications” such as the US and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). In recognition of its technological contributions to the industry, Epson has also received a number of awards, including the Japan Patent Attorneys Association President’s Award and the Inventor’s Award at the 2012 National Commendation for Invention.
Globally, Epson claims to have 50,000 registered patents overall as it becomes increasingly important to register patents in emerging economies like China. To further motivate developers to create more patents, Epson has introduced initiatives to improve the ability of engineers to create and refine inventions, such as teaching them how to write proposals. This also incorporates the aforementioned Dolphin Project, which aims to “ensure industry-leading intellectual property capabilities at the commercialisation stage”.
A further IP action Epson is taking is the planned acquisition of “Brilliant Patents”, which are “key patents that hinder the manoeuvrability of competitors”. The OEM hopes to acquire a certain number of these in each of its businesses and technologies to “increase our competitive advantage in intellectual property and to help increase business profit margins”.
Categories : Products and Technology