Protection of intellectual property
Acquisition of intellectual property rights and establishment of patent networks
■ Trend of patent application ratio in Japan and abroad
As the majority of Showa Denko's businesses are operated globally, we aggressively apply for patents in foreign countries with the aim of supporting those businesses from the intellectual property side.
The chart shown in the right is a composition of data shown in "Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2015" and SDK's own data on the number of applications for patents. It illustrates that the Showa Denko's global application ratios were about 10% higher than those by all applicants.
We also make every effort to secure our superiority based on intellectual property rights, especially in the principal businesses and newly developed important products by establishing patent networks.
One of our Codes of Conduct is to respect the intellectual property rights of others. Starting in 1996, we have built a patent monitoring framework to constantly grasp trends in the intellectual property rights of other parties. In 2005, we started digitizing this framework in 2011, we introduced the Shareresearch a company-wide patent search system developed by Hitachi, and established a framework that allows us to monitor foreign patents as well.
System relating to employee inventions
Although we changed our system related to employee invention in 2005 following the revision of the Patent Act in 2004, we have also further changed the system in 2011 in order to improve fairness for inventors (enforced on July 1, 2011).
We have never faced litigation by inventors regarding patent compensation for employee inventions calculated based on our Employee Invention Regulations.
We have also revised the commendation system to promote the filing of more valuable patent applications. Conventionally, only the top 3 employees in numbers of patent applications filed the previous year were applicable for commendations. However, from 2013, we have also included the top 3 employees in numbers of patents registered the previous year as being applicable for commendations. As for the patents applied for by Showa Denko, we started the introduction of our patents pending in the in-house newsletter that the Japan Patent Office examiner quoted most frequently during the previous fiscal year in order to render a decision of final rejection of patents applied by other companies.