Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
Industry sector: Electronics, semiconductors
Japanese conglomerate Toshiba has weathered the economic ebbs and flows of recent decades through a flexible approach to IP management. The company has proved itself highly adaptable to market trends and forces, expanding its R&D from its traditional core of engineering and electronics to encompass computers and, most recently, semiconductors, storage products and social infrastructure. It is also exploring new ways to utilise existing know-how: a recent announcement by its CEO signalled a renewed focus on healthcare, making particular use of its imaging technology in diagnostics and treatment solutions. As a result of its evolving innovation strategy, Toshiba is a prolific patent filer, with about 15,000 new applications filed around the world each year. A key priority of its IP function is thus the implementation of a rigorous patent management programme, aimed at maintaining the strength of its portfolio while controlling for quality and cutting filing and maintenance costs. In 2014, Toshiba brought patent infringement suits against Taiwan’s Powerchip Technology Corp and South Korea’s SK Hynix. On the defensive side, it is battling Intellectual Ventures in the US District Court for Delaware over 10 patents covering a range of technologies. The company’s actions clearly show its commitment to enforcing its rights and preserving its freedom to operate.