Panasonic and Intellectual Property

Intellectual property before business

2 years before Panasonic was founded in 1916, a young man Konosuke Matsushita, who was engaged in wiring work as an employee of Osaka Dento, worked on improving sockets used in wiring work, developed "Matsushita type socket" and applied for a utility model patent as an individual. This was the first step in Panasonic's efforts to acquire intellectual property. Even though he was a business owner, he continued to apply for patents under the spirit of "Intellectual property before business" until he was 55. He has developed as many as 100 patents and utility models.

Konosuke MATUSHITA's awareness of intellectual property was ahead of the times

14 years later from the foundation of the Company, in 1932, an inventor had patented an important part of radio. The use of multipole radios in high-frequency circuits was said to be infringing his patent. There was a major stumbling block in radio design because of his patent. The founder, who believes that the company should be a "A company is a public entity of society." was concerned about this situation, and in October of 1932, he purchased the patent from the inventor and made it freely available to other manufacturers in the same industry. This is the implementation of what we now call an open strategy. This reflects our company's high awareness of intellectual property activities, which continues to this day.

No. 1 in Japan, in terms of number of patents held *

*The number of patents held is the number of registered patents held in Japan.

In the 1950s, black-and-white televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines, which were called the "Three Sacred Treasures" of Japan, became widespread, and new home appliances such as automatic rice cookers, vacuum cleaners, transistor radios, stereos, tape recorders, and air conditioners were developed and released one after another. As a result, the number of patents has increased significantly. Since then, our company has continued to develop a large number of home appliances, and in 1973, became No. 1 in Japan, in terms of number of patents held.

Changing Intellectual property activities over time

In 1980, we began licensing patents for VCRs based on the VHS format, which had won the industry standard by beating the beta format. We have affirmed the trend toward "Making Intellectual Property a Source of Competitiveness". At the time, Japanese maker's home appliances and automobiles have become global brands, and the prosperity of Japanese manufacturers was regarded as a threat in overseas. In 1983, we sold a total of more than 10 million VCRs, and businesses such as semiconductors, information & communications, and home appliances (audio visuals)" expanded, U.S. govermnet and companies took a hard-line policy toward Japan due to the trade deficit with Japan. As the U.S. government adopted a "pro-patent policy" that emphasizes patent protection to restore the international competitiveness of US industries, the number of patent infringement lawsuits soared, and Japanese companies became embroiled in patent disputes that had not been exposed much before. We have also faced with lawsuits from U.S. companies and has paid substantial royalties to them. The damages to the corporate management was significant, we are once again required to strengthen its management system for international IPR.

The world's leading user of international application *

*Achieved in 2007

In 2004, under the slogan "Company founded on Intellectual Property " we aimed to contribute to the achievement of company business goals by ensuring the superiority and safety of our businesses with intellectual property rights. At the time, the "Nation founded on intellectual property" was declared as a national strategy, where government strengthened for the creation, protection, and utilization of intellectual property, and awareness of intellectual property at the national level.
At the same time, complex patent disputes involving the digital network and device businesses were on the rise, and our company accelerated its efforts to obtain global patents, shifting its emphasis from Japan to overseas. In 2007, Panasonic become the World No.1 company filing the largest number of PCT international applications. In addition, as disputes over intellectual property rights intensified, we promoted thorough negotiation tactics to protect our company operations.

While we are working toward reallocation of our intellectual property portfolio in accordance with its current business trends and scale, we own more than 100,000 intellectual property rights and consistently ranked among the top companies in Japan and overseas in terms of the number of patents held.

Turning the Intellectual Property Department into an Intellectual Property Company

In the 2010s, the market environment changed drastically, with competition in business expanding not only between domestic competitors but also between different industries and countries. In order to respond to the age of mega-competition, in 2014 we separated its intellectual property functions from Panasonic Corporation and established Panasonic IP Management Co., Ltd. incorporated separately. Since then, we have clarified our management responsibility by focusing on intellectual property activities and contributed to Panasonic's growth strategy.

Panasonic IP Management Co., Ltd., which consolidates Panasonic's intellectual property-related business functions, has "expertise" "Collaboration and integration capabilities" and "ability to propose" as its own strength. We strongly supports intellectual property activities with its know-how accumulated over many years in the course of supporting Intellectual Property Activities of Panasonic Group.