Intellectual Property Management

Basic Approach

The NGK Group considers intellectual property (hereinafter referred to as “IP”) rights to be an extremely important management resource. The worldwide acquisition and utilization of rights such as patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks support the NGK Group’s business and R&D. In order to realize the NGK Group Vision: Road to 2050 and roll out our business in the areas of CN (Carbon Neutrality) and DS (Digital Society) on a global scale, we are making efforts to strengthen patent applications for inventions related to systems and services as well as inventions related to our existing product manufacturing. In addition, the IP Department and each development department or business division meet annually for an Intellectual Property Activity Meeting to discuss and formulate IP activity targets based on analysis results such as IP information which includes market information and the status of competitive patent applications, as well as our own development targets.
We check on the progress of activities every quarter, and carry out strategic IP activities in a manner that allows us to flexibly respond to changing conditions.

Number of Patents Held

This graph shows trends in the number of patents held. As of March 31, 2023, NGK held 3,448 domestic patents and 4,589 foreign patents.
This image depicts the number of patents held by NGK as of March 31, 2023. They totaled 3,448 domestic patents and 4,589 foreign patents.

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IP Management System

The IP Department carries out integrated management of IP for the entire NGK Group, and also pursues IP-related activities together with various other departments.

This diagram shows the IP Management System. The IP Department centrally manages intellectual properties.

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Promoting IP Training and Raising Awareness about IP

IP Training for Engineers

We provide e-learning and various seminars related to IP with the aim of providing training and up-skilling for engineers.
We also have our engineers master patent search techniques via individual, computer-based practical training.
Since FY2020, training has been carried out via remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to encourage participation. From FY2022, we also began offering online seminars about the patent system in an on-demand training format.

IP Training Provided in FY2022

Intended participants Participants
E-learning of Patent Act introduction Young engineers 59
Small-group workshops Engineers 144
Seminars to acquire IP search skills Engineers 227
Small-group workshops Engineers in the business divisions and the R&D departments 117
(total for 15 sessions)

Overseas Training of IP Department Personnel

In FY2022, a member of the IP Department was dispatched to a patent law firm in the U.S. for about three months in order to help us improve the efficiency of our operations by gathering the latest IP information from the U.S, undergoing practical training, and facilitating smoother communications with attorneys.

A group photograph of members of a U.S. patent law firm who provided assistance and the staff member of the IP Department.
Staff member pictured with members of a U.S. patent law firm who provided assistance

Employee Invention Reward System to Provide Rewards for Employee Inventions

In order to further encourage employees to create excellent inventions, we launched a revamped employee invention reward system, which is divided into four categories: application rewards, registration rewards, implementation rewards, and excellent invention rewards.
Excellent invention rewards honor contributions to the company with large financial rewards and commendations for particularly excellent inventions. These rewards include the Contributory Invention Reward for patents and know-how resulting in remarkable contributions to NGK’s business, and the Innovative Invention Reward for patents, patent applications, and know-how which is innovative.
In FY2022, after strict examinations, three were chosen for the Contributory Invention Reward and two for the Innovative Invention Reward.

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Disseminating IP Information

We disseminate information such as technical trend analyses and investigation know-how throughout the entire NGK Group to support activities to create IP.
Also, with regards to how carbon neutrality relates to the NGK Group Vision, we actively share IP information about noteworthy technical fields, and publish our TIPS series on utilizing IP information.

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Addressing IP Risks in foreign countries

To support our business for automotive exhaust purification ceramic products, for which we conduct manufacturing on a global scale, we have built a method for properly managing inventions at overseas plants. NGK promotes the practice of IP management overseas at the same high level as in Japan.

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