"Intellectual Property" by 9 Companies

Activity report

The final chapter in an elective course consisting of a series of lectures on intellectual property by guest speakers was offered on January 16 and 23, 2017, featuring officials responsible for intellectual property issues at a total of nine companies (see below). The first part of the event, which was entitled "Corporate Intellectual Property Strategy," provided a general introduction to the subject, while the second offered a specific example of its application in the form of a discussion between the officials and students about how intellectual property management would change in the future in an era when widespread use of devices such as smartphones has made it easier than ever before to collect and disseminate information.

In their lectures, the guest speakers talked about the importance of intellectual property from their unique vantage point in the corporate world, and about associated strategies, including how intellectual property strategy directly impacts companies' business strategies, how companies research counterfeit products worldwide and take legal action to address infringements of their design rights in order to protect their product brands, and how companies assert rights to some inventions while concealing others as expertise based on a consideration of the lifespan of patents. They also discussed sound trademarks as a new type of trademark, and students' eyes glittered with interest at this glimpse of a previously unknown world.

During the discussion that followed the lectures, the officials addressed the question of how intellectual property departments should pursue intellectual property strategy in an era in which the IoT has turned all manner of objects into pathways for communicating information and in which AI technologies are creating added value, pointing to the need to obtain an extensive range of information and then sift through it to find what is relevant. For their part, students proposed specific services such as a computer or smartphone that could display the user's face on its screen and suggest how to apply makeup or diagnose the user's health.

Over the course of the two-day event, the corporate officials offered students insights into intellectual property in addition to advice about not only what type of research to specialize in during their studies, but also how to master a range of knowledge that will prove useful as they hunt for jobs. The information is sure to encourage students as they head out into society.

The program wishes to extend its thanks to all the corporate officials who took time out of their busy schedules to attend.

Participating companies (in no particular order)
 The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd.
 Ajinomoto Co., Inc.
 Kobe Steel, Ltd.
 Toyobo Co., Ltd.
 Shiseido Company, Limited
 Oji Holdings Corporation
 Kuraray Co., Ltd. 
 Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd.

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