Hitachi Group

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Industry sector: Electronics

Electronics conglomerate Hitachi has had an IP function since 1921. It won global renown on the strength of its intellectual property in the semiconductor, LCD and hard disk drive spaces, but is now concentrating on developing technologies for its Social Innovation Business, which includes infrastructure systems, information and communication systems, power systems and construction machinery. It recently inked a £1.2 billion deal to replace the fleet of British rail operator East Coast Main Line with its own Class 800 series trains, and has entered into a Y37 billion contract to build Vietnam’s first urban railway in Ho Chi Minh City. The geographical focus of its IP strategy is also shifting to Asia and Latin America – a trend reflected in its patent application statistics and in the new R&D centres it has opened up in Shanghai and Sao Paulo, which will partner with universities and other local institutions to develop technologies that best meet regional infrastructure needs. As the company shifts its focus towards infrastructure, the IP team is eyeing creative ways to continue creating value with its wealth of electronics patents.