Yamaha 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.
Respect for Property Rights (Protecting Intellectual Property)
- Basic Policy and Framework
- Measures to Protect Intellectual Property
- Accolades from Outside Organizations
Basic Policy and Framework
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 leadership of Yamaha Corporation, the Yamaha Group centrally manages the intellectual property of all companies in the Group and liaises closely with related departments to promote the unification of business strategy, research and development strategy and intellectual property strategy. Moreover, it has provisions for handling rights (such as patents and design rights) related to creation that occurs in the course of business duties and a compensation system in place.
Measures to Protect Intellectual Property
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 are working to optimize our property by evaluating the rights, including the state of current utilization and future possibilities, and rigorously categorizing rights held.
The total number of patents and utility models s for practical use held by the Yamaha Group in Japan as of March 31, 2017 was approximately 4,700. The total number it holds overseas, principally in the United States, European Union, and China, is 4,400.
In the Yamaha Group, we see design as an important element of product differentiation and are working to protect and use it appropriately. In recent years, the Yamaha Group has been strengthening its acquisition of design rights in China as an anti-counterfeiting measure.
As of March 31, 2017, we held approximately 1,100 design rights, with 380 in Japan and 730 overseas.
In addition to the industrial property rights of 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 2017, Yamaha invited Mr. Minoru Mukaiya, a regular member of the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC), and a composer, player, and music producer, to give a lecture.
In his lecture entitled “Music Copyright from the Eyes of the Copyright Holder/Performer”, Mr. Mukaiya introduced various experiences on the music production site. A lively Q&A session followed.
Brands are an important asset for Yamaha Group. While ensuring the brand image they have worked hard to cultivate is not tarnished, we must also remain continually focused on further enhancing brand value as part of their business activities.
In 1986, the Yamaha Group established a management procedure related to the Yamaha brand, while at the same time building a companywide brand management organization (Brand Committee). Ever since, we have been advancing the creation of rules governing how our brands are shown and working to maintain and improve brand value by achieving appropriate use.
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
There has been no abatement in the counterfeiting and unauthorized usage of Yamaha brand products. 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 electronic commerce in recent years, while filing lawsuits and requesting administrative disciplinary action against the counterfeit goods supplied by real stores and/or factories..
Accolades from Outside Organizations
Named One of the "2016 Top 100 Global Innovators" by Clarivate Analytics
In January 2017 Yamaha Corporation was selected as one of the “2016 Top 100 Global Innovators” by Clarivate Analytics, based on the high appraisal of its intellectual property activities in Japan and overseas. Having also received this honor in 2011, 2014, and 2015, this year’s achievement took the total to four, as well as being the third consecutive year to be honored with this recognition.
In 2016, Yamaha received high evaluations for "globalization” in its patent activities, which was the key point that led to the selection.
Going forward, Yamaha will continue its intellectual property activities by further accumulating its stock of intellectual assets, including patents.