The Mitsubishi Electric Group recognises that intellectual property (IP) rights represent a vital management resource essential to its future and must be protected. Through integrating business, R&D and IP activities, the Group is proactively strengthening its global IP assets, which are closely linked to the Group’s business growth strategies and contribute to both business and society.
The IP divisions of the Mitsubishi Electric Group include the Head Office IP Division, which is the direct responsibility of the president, and the IP divisions at the Works, R&D centres and affiliated companies. The activities of each IP division are carried out under the executive officer in charge of IP at each location. The Head Office IP Division formulates strategies for the entire Group, promotes critical projects, co-ordinates interaction with external agencies including patent offices and is in charge of IP public relations activities. At the Works, R&D centre and affiliated company level, IP divisions promote individual strategies in line with the Group’s overall IP strategies. Through mutual collaboration, these divisions work to link and fuse their activities in an effort to develop more effective initiatives.
The Mitsubishi Electric Group identifies critical IP-related themes based on its mainstay businesses and important R&D projects, and is accelerating the globalisation of IP activities also by filing patents prior to undertaking business development in emerging countries where an expansion of business opportunities is expected. Furthermore, resident officers are assigned to Mitsubishi Electric sites in the United States, Europe and China to take charge of IP activities and strengthen the IP capabilities of business offices, R&D centres and affiliated companies in each country. Through these initiatives, we strive to create a robust global patent network.
In order to expand business in global markets, the Mitsubishi Electric Group is actively promoting international standardisation. Activities to acquire patents that support international standards (e.g. standard essential patents) are openly promoted. As the member of an organisation in which patent pools for items such as MPEG and Blu-ray Disc™* collectively control standard essential patents, the IP revenues obtained through the organisation are contributing to improvement and growth in business earnings. The Group is also working to increase activities for acquiring patents in competitive fields involving international standards and promoting IP activities that contribute to increasing product competitiveness and expanding market share.
*Blu-ray Disc™ is a trademark of the Blu-ray Disc Association.
The Mitsubishi Electric Group works diligently to prevent any infringement of its IP rights by other companies. In addition to in-house activities, the Group places particular weight on collaborating with industry organisations while approaching government agencies and other entities in Japan and overseas as a part of a wide range of measures to prevent the counterfeiting of products.
The Mitsubishi Electric Group recognises that the infringement of another company's IP rights has the potential to significantly impair its continued viability as a going concern. The resulting potential impairments include being obliged to pay significant licensing fees, being forced to discontinue manufacturing of a certain product or other related actions. To prevent the infringement of another company's IP rights, the Group provides education and training—centring on engineers and employees responsible for IP affairs—to raise awareness and instil the utmost respect said rights. At the same time, the Group has put in place a set of rules to facilitate appropriate actions, such as surveying other companies’ patent rights at every stage from product development to sales, and ensuring strict adherence to these rules.