The intellectual property business matching model attracts attention in Japan

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On February 7 2018, Fuji Xerox announced that it will roll out the patent licensing business to SMEs.

In Japan, a business model for large companies to license their unused patents to SMEs to help such SMEs develop new products or create new business is getting a lot attention lately. Fuji Xerox has been participating in intellectual property business matching between SMEs and large companies since 2016 which is a local government project. Now it has signed a patent license agreement with a company in Yokohama, and made this announcement. This is the first success case in the IP business matching for Fuji Xerox.

This business model brings the following advantage:

  • Large companies can monetize their unused patents.
  • Large companies can expect advertising effect by contributing to SMEs and regional community.
  • SMEs can gain the chance of development of new products.

Especially for large companies, since they provide their unused and non-core technologies, it is unlikely to affect their business and it would be easily approved in the company. Also, the litigation risk is probably not high, because there is a big gap between large companies and SMEs in internal resources (e.g. IP staff, financing) and maybe few SMEs will challenge the patents of large companies or try to use the ideas without infringing the patents. On the other hand, the license revenue depends on future success of the new products implementing the patented ideas. It is unpredictable and maybe cannot expect huge revenue.

Therefore, it is a low-risk, low-return business for large companies. Fuji Xerox clearly states in the announcement that it will promote this type of licensing business. However, it should consider the cost of matching with SMEs, in addition to unpredictable revenues. If an SME is looking for a specific technology and it approaches to a large company which has such a patented technology through its own effort, that’s fine for the large company. However, it would be challenging for large companies to identify their unused patents which potentially contribute to the business of a SME and make a proposal for it, considering the cost. Currently, a local government is playing the important role as an middleman in the  transactions. It should be watched whether Fuji Xerox can grow this licensing business successfully.


Call for Inventors

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A global food and beverage company is looking for innovative solutions for various challenges it faces in the field packaging, production process and so on. So, we are now looking for inventors or innovators in such fields. If you are willing to help us, please let us know.

We can give you documents for detailed information which includes problem definition, examples of existing relevant technologies, and requirements for solutions to be proposed. And if you develop such good solutions that the company selects for its use, you will be able to receive monetary rewards.

Please join a network of inventors worldwide. You may have a chance to work with world-class inventors to develop innovative solutions.


3 tips for efficiently generating ideas likely to be adopted by customers

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We are working with researchers, engineers and technology consultants to develop new solutions and applications for customers.  We try to generate great ideas that the customers get interested in adopting or at least trying to use them.  There are a variety of techniques widely introduced for generating ideas, such as Brainstorming, SCAMPER, Reverse thinking etc.  Here are several tips for new participants in our invention program to heighten the likelihood of adoption of your ideas by customers, which you should consider before and after you generate ideas, rather than idea generation techniques themselves.

1. Choose a problem worthy of contemplation
What is a problem you try to solve?  Before you start generating ideas, please spend time to think about the problem. It is worth your time.  What change can you expect by solving the problem?  Does it likely to produce an innovative product or service?  Or does it likely to improve quality of an existing product or service?  Do you feel the strong need for it?  The next question may be most important for you.  Do you feel worthy enough to spend time to contemplate solutions for the problem?

2. Review current technology and solutions
If you are an expert in the field of technology and industry related to the problem, you don’t always have to do.  But it’s very helpful and efficient to know existing technologies and solutions to generate new ideas.  So I strongly encourage you to get a quick overview of the current state of technology and solutions, at least by conducting a Web search, before start generating ideas.  It’s worth trying, again.
Also, when you come up with an idea, it would be a good idea to conduct a search for it, just in case, before you firm up the idea.  Someone may have got the same idea.

3. Explain why the customer should adopt your idea
How do you explain it?  Is it because your idea improves its existing products or services?  How much improvement can the customer expect?  Is it persuasive?
Also, a good idea is not always adopted by the customer.  They may consider the cost of adopting your idea.  How many changes are required on their products or services?

We hope you keep in mind these viewpoints when you try to generate ideas. We look forward to hearing and discussing your ideas.


Partners with Xinova to find great inventors

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We are delighted to announce the partnership with Xinova which provides an open innovation platform with a global inventor network.

We will assist Xinova to find great talent who has potential for invention and assist them to develop new solutions to solve a variety of problems faced by its customers and also develop new applications based on existing technologies owned by the customers. The inventors who develop such good solutions or applications that the customers select or the like will be able to receive monetary rewards.

If you have an interest in joining the invention program, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Launch of our new website

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We are delighted to announce of the launch of our new website. We are a Japan-based consulting firm with expertise in intellectual property (IP) and technologies. We assist companies to develop their business by maximizing IP value. We provide three types of services, as follows:

  • IP Intelligence for Business
    which includes market research based on IP data, and IP strategy development
  • Open Innovation
    which includes technology scouting and solution development
  • Business Development
    which provides cost-effective business develop support for companies considering expanding their business into Japan.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any interest in working with us.