Corporate Governance

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

The Asahi Group views intellectual property activities as essential from the viewpoint of developing the business. As such, we actively promote the acquisition of rights in line with business development and investigate and take appropriate action against the violation of our rights under related laws and regulations so as to not lose the degree of freedom we have over our business activities.

At the same time, we focus our strength on developing organizational systems and rules to transferring or desclaim the intellectual property rights of third parties.

We do so by investigating whether the rights of a third party have been infringed upon when developing new products or selecting new research topics, etc.

In addition, we maintain only the rights we need while releasing other rights that have no potential for developing our business as part of an effort to promote the sound growth of the industry and cost-effectiveness.

Management System

The Intellectual Property Strategy Office was established under the Research & Development Section of Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. to strengthen intellectual property right-related activities over the entire Group and to drive intellectual property activities that contribute to management. While building governance systems in response to a globally expanding Group structure and business, the Intellectual Property Section works with related sections to promote efficient product development and research and development that also keep intellectual property in view.

While working closely with sections in charge of intellectual property at each Group company, the Intellectual Property Strategy Office goes beyond executing its intellectual property right duties and following through with activities to avoid risk and implementing protective measures. It also pursues initiatives to create efficient and highly effective intellectual property that contributes to the business of Group companies and to strategically obtain and make use of intellectual property rights.

Sharing of Intellectual Property Information

The Asahi Group has developed a system to centrally manage the intellectual property owned by each Group company. Centrally managing and allowing for the sharing of information relating to intellectual property held by each Group company has paved the way for the efficient operation and management of such information, in addition to developing an environment whereby the content of intellectual property rights held and their implementation status can be mutually understood.

Intellectual Property Right Activities

Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.’s Intellectual Property Strategy Office (within the Research & Development Section) and its employees in sections in charge of intellectual property at Group companies work together towards obtaining intellectual property rights for the Asahi Group, driving the acquisition of rights and investigations into the intellectual property rights of third parties in conjunction with uncovering materials on intellectual property. In terms of overseas applications, decisions as to which countries to acquire the rights in are made through deliberations with the Research and Development Section and the Marketing Section, with due consideration given to the intentions of management and business sections.

Further, based on a premise of borderless business promotion with regard to overseas business expansion, the Intellectual Property Section makes comprehensive decisions and carries through with appropriate investigations, applications, intermediate processes, the exercising of rights and licensing while collaborating with related sections.

Finally, based on a philosophy of respect for the rights of the Company and of others, the Intellectual Property Section initiates an investigation where there is an indication that the Company's rights may have been infringed upon, and responds in an appropriate manner in line with the laws and regulations of each country.

Status of patent/design right registrations (Asahi Group*)

FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016 FY2017
Patents / Design rights 74 81 99 62 54

*Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.; Asahi Breweries, Ltd.; The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., Ltd.; Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.;

Status of trademark registrations (Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.)

FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016 FY2017
Trademarks 154 97 104 60 50

Reward for Inventions

To encourage employees in their creative endeavors and to contribute to corporate growth, the Asahi Group has established the "Regulations on Inventions by Employees" in an attempt to harmonize its rights and those of its employees who have created intellectual property, e.g. inventions.

Intellectual creations subject to the "Regulations on Inventions by Employees" include patents, utility models, design, variety and know-how. Additionally, under the Japanese Patent Law, the Asahi Groups pays rewards for the inventive accomplishments that have been ceded to the Company as "Inventions by Employees." The types of rewards include an "application reward" paid when an application is filed, a "registration reward" paid when a registration is made, and a "reward paid for inventions" that is paid upon an evaluation of the invention.

Evaluations are made with the Invention Review Board reviewing and deciding upon either the level of contribution made to the Company's business performance when the invention is utilized in-house, or the compensation paid when transferring or licensing the invention out to a third party. Further, a system has been put in place to ensure the satisfaction of both the inventor and the Company that enables the inventor to make a formal objection to the Review Board should he or she object to the content of review decisions made.

Rewards paid for inventions
(Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. and Asahi Breweries, Ltd.)

FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016 FY2017
Number of inventions meriting rewards 47 43 41 41 54