Respect for Property Rights (Protection of Intellectual Property)

  1. Basic Policy
  2. Intellectual Property Protection Initiatives

The Yamaha Group believes that proper protection and use of intellectual property rights are essential for accelerating innovation and inspiring creativity and make social development faster and healthier. The Yamaha Group, since its inception, has proceeded to protect its business through the proactive acquisition of intellectual property rights. Also, the Yamaha Group has proceeded to foster a culture of respecting others’ intellectual property rights and an organization that is built on this respect.

The Yamaha Group is proactive in its efforts to acquire, protect, and utilize intellectual property rights created during the course of its business activities, such as those pertaining to new technological concepts, designs, products, or service names. At the same time, we view respect for the intellectual property rights of others as a basic principle, and the Compliance Code of Conduct contains stipulations pertaining to the protection of such intellectual property rights, which are faithfully observed. When conducting preliminary surveys in conjunction with the announcement of new product development projects or the acquisition of 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 artificial intelligence technologies.
In addition, regulations and bonus systems are in place with regard to the rights (patents, designs, etc.) to new inventions produced as part of work. Yamaha also holds educational sessions for employees to ensure they are able to appropriately use intellectual property held by Yamaha or other parties. In addition to training upon hiring, Yamaha Corporation is enhancing its employee training programs through means such as holding training sessions for employees upon joining or being transferred to development and marketing divisions, including sessions related to the themes of patents, copyrights, and general management of intellectual property.

Patents

We have formulated a patent strategy to match the characteristics of our business and are working to build a strong patent portfolio. With regard to specific businesses, we are engaged in patent activities with the main aims of differentiation from other companies as well as the maintenance of a competitive edge, and we are moving forward with licensing to third parties as appropriate.
In addition, annual evaluations are conducted on the current state of utilization and future possibilities of all patent rights retained in Japan and overseas, and we rigorously categorize and manage our portfolio of intellectual property with the potential to contribute to the development of unique Yamaha products and to the establishment of a competitive advantage. By optimizing our intellectual property portfolio and numbers of held rights, we are promoting the rational use of intellectual property.
The total number of patents and utility models for practical use held by the Yamaha Group in Japan as of March 31, 2020, was approximately 2,500. The total number held overseas, principally in the United States, Europe, and China, was 3,500 on March 31, 2020, making a global total of approximately 6,000.

Designs

The Yamaha Group views designs as an important element of product differentiation, and we are promoting the appropriate protection and use of designs through design rights and other intellectual property rights accordingly. As part of these efforts, the Yamaha Group has been ramping up the acquisition and exercise of design rights in countries and regions where there are many victims of counterfeiting.
As of March 31, 2020, we held approximately 1,280 design rights, with 440 in Japan and 840 overseas.

Copyrights

In addition to patents, designs, and trademarks, the Yamaha Group has produced a large number of copyright works in the sound, music, and other fields. Music-related copyrights are a particularly important form of intellectual property, and the Group manages and utilizes these rights, taking legal action when necessary. Education and training on the proper use of copyright works are also provided to employees. In addition to holding annual in-house copyright seminars performed by intellectual property representatives, we regularly conduct study sessions that are specially tailored for specific divisions and Group companies.
In addition, the Company has been revising the Copyright Guide, an in-house training tool related to copyrights, as needed to respond to new laws, regulations, and social trends. In Japan, the Company began distributing a revised guide in April 2019 based on the amendments to the Copyright Act implemented at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019.

[ photo ] Internal copyright seminar
Internal copyright seminar
[ image ] In-house copyright-related training tool
In-house copyright-related training tool

Brands

Our brands have been an important asset, and a symbol of our responsibility toward customers and society, since the establishment of the Company. The Yamaha Group has implemented rules governing brand display methods and is working to improve brand value through appropriate use based on management standards related to Yamaha brands and under the guidance of the Brand Strategy Committee, a Companywide brand management organization. Furthermore, Yamaha has trademarked its brand in almost every part of the world and conducts preliminary surveys and acquires rights via the appropriate methods for the sub-brands of its products, services, and technologies.

Counterfeit Product Countermeasures

Through ongoing countermeasures for combatting unauthorized usage of Group intellectual properties and counterfeit products, issues that 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 maintaining trust in the Yamaha brand. In China, we are stepping up measures, including filing lawsuits and requesting administrative disciplinary action, to combat the recent trend toward the sale of counterfeit products over the Internet and social media. We are also networking with local authorities in Africa and other regions and ramping up other counterfeit product countermeasures.