Headquarters: Kyoto, Japan

Industry sector: Semiconductors

Kyoto-based semiconductor company ROHM is notable for being one of the first Japanese companies to stick its head above the parapet and enter a privateering-style arrangement with an NPE. In 2014, it entered into an agreement with WiLAN which saw it transfer full ownership of a patent portfolio covering semiconductor packaging to the Canadian company, in a deal that would reportedly see the Japanese firm receive a share of any licensing revenue. In bucking the trend which has seen many Japanese companies eschew monetising patents through third parties, ROHM made clear that WiLAN’s professional approach as a publicly traded entity and its commitment to R&D activity were among the reasons they chose it as a licensing partner. ROHM has also made money through outright sales of patents to other operating companies, for example in a deal between its subsidiary Lapis Semiconductor and Rakuten.