Respect for Property Rights (Protecting Intellectual Property)

  1. Basic Policy and Framework
  2. Measures to Protect Intellectual Property

The Yamaha Group has worked hard to acquire patents and other intellectual property rights for the intellectual capital we have built up since our founding, and are taking a variety of measures aimed at maximizing the business benefits of intellectual property. We also respect the intellectual property rights of third parties, and have made this clear in our Compliance Code of Conduct.

Under the guidance and support of Yamaha Corporation, all the group companies respectively manage their intellectual property to promote intellectual property strategies in collaboration with business strategies and R&D strategies. Moreover, Yamaha has or encourages to have 1) provisions for handling intellectual property rights, such as patents and design rights, related to creation that occurs in the course of business duties and 2) a compensation system in place.

The Yamaha Group works to protect intellectual property based on respect for third parties’ intellectual property rights while proactively acquiring rights to new intellectual property that is created in the course of business activities. When conducting a preliminary survey upon acquiring intellectual property rights, the Yamaha Group strives to avoid infringing on existing rights by improving the precision of its surveys through the implementation of tools that utilize AI technology.
In addition, Yamaha holds educational sessions for employees so that they may appropriately use intellectual property held by Yamaha or other companies. In addition to training upon hiring, Yamaha Corporation has in fiscal 2017 been strengthening its position-based training, including sessions related to the general management of intellectual property for management and mid-career employees.

Patents

We have formulated a patent strategy to match the characteristics of our business and are aiming to build a strong patent portfolio.
With regard to each business, we are engaged in patent activities with the main aims of differentiation from other companies as well as acquisition and maintenance of business superiority, and we are moving forward with licensing to third parties in some business areas.
What’s more, regarding all patent rights retained in Japan and overseas, every year we conduct evaluations, including the state of current utilization and future possibilities, and rigorously categorize and organize intellectual property which can contribute to Yamaha’s unique product development and the establishment of a competitive advantage. By promoting the optimization of the content and numbers of held rights, we are aiming for the rational use of intellectual property rights.
The total number of patents and utility models for practical use held by the Yamaha Group in Japan as of March 31, 2018 was approximately 4,000. The total number it holds overseas, principally in the United States, European Union, and China, is 4,000.

Design

In the Yamaha Group, we see design as an important element of product differentiation, and are working to protect and use it appropriately. As part of this effort, the Yamaha Group has been strengthening its acquisition of design rights in countries and regions in which there are many victims of counterfeiting.
As of March 31, 2018, we held approximately 1,170 design rights, with 400 in Japan and 770 overseas.

Copyright

In addition to patents, designs, and trademarks, the Yamaha Group creates and owns a large number of copyright works in sound, music, and other fields. In particular, music-related copyrights are important intellectual property, and Yamaha tries to manage and fully utilize these rights (including through legal action).
Education and training on the proper use of copyright works are also provided to employees. In addition to holding annual copyright seminars, we invite experts from various industries relating to copyrights, to give lectures once a year. In fiscal 2018, Yamaha invited Ms. Ayuko Hashimoto, a lawyer at Kotto Dori Law Office, to give a lecture.

In addition, the Company has been revising as needed the “Copyright Guide,” an in-house training tool related to copyrights, to respond to recent laws, regulations and societal trends. The next revision is planned for fiscal 2019 in accordance with the revision of the Copyright Act in Japan.

[ image ] Copyright lecture
Copyright lecture
[ image ] An in-house training tool related to copyright
An in-house training tool related to copyright

Brand

Our brand has been an important asset since the establishment of our company.
The Yamaha Group has been advancing the creation of rules governing how our brands are shown, and working to maintain and improve brand value by achieving appropriate use based on management standards related to Yamaha Brands and the companywide brand management organization (Brand Committee).
Furthermore, Yamaha has trademarked its brand in almost every part of the world, and conducts preliminary investigations and acquires rights via the appropriate methods for the sub-brands of its products, services, and technologies.

Measures to fight counterfeit goods

By continuing measures against unauthorized usage and counterfeit products, which are on the rise across the globe, the Yamaha Group continues to take action against these problems in order to eliminate the economic disadvantage for consumers while ensuring safety and, by extension, maintain trust in the Yamaha brand. With efforts focused on China in particular, we are strengthening measures to stop the sale of counterfeit goods over the Internet and social media in recent years, while filing lawsuits and requesting administrative disciplinary action. We are also strengthening measures in other regions, including Africa.