The Konica Minolta Group conducts its business activities with an awareness that intellectual property management is one of the three key strategies in its overall management, together with its business and technology strategies.
The Group aggressively files patent applications and secures intellectual property rights consistent with changes in the content and location of its business activities. In this way, the Group consciously contributes to its business activities with patent rights.
Fiscal 2012 saw a slight increase in the number of published Japanese patent applications at 3,3021 in total. Although patents in the Business Technologies Business comprise about half of the applications, a breakdown shows that the proportion of applications in other businesses is rising. For example, the proportion of applications in the Industrial Business, including new business, increased to 23% from 15% in the previous fiscal year.
The Group is also submitting applications to assemble a portfolio of global patents that cover important markets and manufacturing countries in order to support its global business with intellectual property. In recent years, the Group has made use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) to select suitable countries for filing patent applications in response to changes in the business environment. The percentage of international PCT applications among the Group’s published Japanese patent applications has been increasing year by year. It was 15.9% in fiscal 2012 compared with 14.3% in fiscal 2008.
As a result of its intellectual property activities, the Group has steadily increased the number of patents it holds. The Group had 2,1442 patent registrations in Japan in fiscal 2012, approximately 1.7 times the number in fiscal 2008. In addition, the Group had 708 patent registrations in the United States, approximately 1.5 times the number in fiscal 2008. Furthermore, the Group’s focus on securing intellectual property rights in China has resulted in rapid growth in its number of patents registered there, which have increased to 179, about 2.7 times the number in fiscal 2008. According to the Group’s own survey, its rank in the number of patent registrations in Japan rose to 16th from 21st in the previous fiscal year. In the United States, it ranked 17th among Japanese companies in the number of patent registrations, the same as in the previous fiscal year.
*1 Including PCT international publications (Japan)
*2 Combined figure for all Group companies (Konica Minolta calculation)