In the Asahi Kasei Group, the management strategy, IP strategy, and R&D strategy of each operation are integrated as one, with the creation of new businesses as an important management task. IP activities are advanced in direct connection with the management of operations to gain business advantage by the steady acquisition of IP rights from R&D results, enabling the creation of new businesses and the securement of profitability in existing businesses.
The core operating companies take the lead in formulating IP strategy for each operation in line with the relevant business characteristics. The primary focus is on strengthening existing businesses, with equal emphasis placed on the quality and the quantity of patents. Strategic licensing is performed when it is deemed an effective means to heighten the contribution of IP rights to our own business operations.
A relationship of mutual trust and reliance is fostered between the personnel working on IP and those working on R&D, as the IP and R&D functions advance in close coordination to strengthen business operations.
Thorough Patent Searching
The Asahi Kasei Group considers reliable and effective patent searching to be vital, and thorough patent searches are performed at critical phases in the process of developing IP rights. Patent searches are conducted by different personnel in correspondence with different purposes. Technology information specialists in Corporate IP conduct key searches related to subjects which significantly impact business operations. Researchers conduct primary searches themselves, which enhances their patent searching ability and heightens their motivation.
Continuous monitoring of patent information related to R&D projects for selective dissemination of information (SDI) is another focus of patent searches. These search and monitoring results are compiled into a strategic database which is utilized as described under IP Portfolio, below.
Overseas IP Strategy
The expansion of world-leading businesses is one of the main strategies of the Asahi Kasei Group’s medium-term management initiative. Accordingly, Corporate IP places emphasis on the securement and utilization of firm IP rights that support global business operations, especially in the US, China, Europe, and the emerging countries. As China continues to grow in importance for our global expansion, we are also strengthening a wide range of IP activities in China. The ongoing and comprehensive reinforcement of global IP activities will continue to support further expansion of operations worldwide.
The Asahi Kasei Group maintains a strategic database (SDB) of patent information to enable strategic analysis in the management of its IP portfolio. The information contained in the SDB is used for advancement of the business operations, R&D, and IP activities.
One unique characteristic of the SDB is the inclusion of supplementary information specific to each individual patent (both in-house patents and other company patents) as related to each R&D project. The supplementary information includes a rank of importance, status of use, technology category, and countermeasures to other company patents.
Key aspects of the utilization of this SDB include 1) tracking trends in technologies, in markets, and in other companies, 2) identifying subjects for R&D, 3) clarifying the positioning of technologies and patents, including those of other companies, and 4) identifying patents which would pose an impediment to R&D and to business operations, and formulating countermeasures.
Through maintenance and utilization of the SDB, the IP Liaison Group and the Technical Information Group of Corporate IP work closely together with each R&D organization to formulate and implement countermeasures in response to other company patents as well as plans for in-house patent applications.