nihonkohden

Intellectual Property Activities

Our Policy

We enhance our freedom to operate and the potential to develop business by acquiring new intellectual properties according to our business strategy while respecting third party rights and striving to prevent infringement.

Patents

Based on its long-term vision, BEACON 2030, Nihon Kohden has narrowed down the areas of research and development in which it will invest priority resources and is working hard in those areas to create intellectual property that will give the Company a competitive advantage. We will perform monitoring and assessment of competitors' products and intellectual property to develop IP portfolios through cooperation between the Marketing & Business Development Department, the Technology Development Department, and the Intellectual Property Department. In response to intellectual property risks associated with expanding the business into the global market, we have been strengthening our cooperation with overseas group subsidiaries to mitigate such risks.

Ratio of patent applications in 2019

Physiological Measuring Equipment
This category includes electroencephalographs (EEG), evoked potential and electromyogram measuring systems, electrocardiographs (ECG), polygraphs for cath lab, diagnostic information systems, related consumables such as recording paper, electrodes and catheters, and maintenance services.
20%
Patient Monitors
This category includes patient monitors such as central monitors, bedside monitors, wireless monitors, remote access software and other equipment, clinical information systems, related consumables such as electrodes and sensors, and maintenance services.
66%
Treatment Equipment
This category includes defibrillators, AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators), ventilators, pacemakers, anesthesia machines, cochlear implants, related consumables such as AED pads and batteries, and maintenance services.
4%
Other Medical Equipment
This category includes hematology analyzers, clinical chemistry analyzers, ultrasound diagnostic equipment, equipment for research and others, consumables such as test reagents, and installation and maintenance services.
10%
 

Takuo Aoyagi and the pulse oximeter

The pulse oximeter is a device that continuously measures the oxygen saturation in arterial blood (how much hemoglobin is bound to oxygen) without blood sampling. Nihon Kohden’s late Takuo Aoyagi, PhD, was recognized as the pioneer of pulse oximetry for his patent application (“Optical Oxygen Measuring Device”) filed on March 29, 1974. For his significant contribution to improving the quality of medical care, he received the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2002 and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology in 2015. In 2020, he also received the American Society of Anesthesiologists Honorary Member Award which has been awarded to seven individuals over the past 40 years.
For further details on Dr. Aoyagi’s career and the pulse oximeter, please refer to the special site.

Design

In addition to protecting our designs by obtaining design rights, Nihon Kohden has been spreading awareness of our designs through submission of designs to various design awards. We have received the Good Design Awards for nine consecutive years from FY2013 to FY2021. For further details, please refer to each press release.
<Examples of design awards>
 
Good Design Awards
(Japan)
Kids Design Awards
(Japan)
Red Dot Design Award
(Germany)
       
Product AED-2100
Automated External Defibrillator
ECG electrode for Children AE-120A
EEG head set 
 Reion / country of registered design rights Japan/US/EU/China/Korea Japan Japan/China


Encouragement of Invention

Since 2010, Nihon Kohden has held the Annual Patent Forum where inventors of the Company make presentations about their published patent applications and attendees of the Company vote on them. The inventors of the patent with the most votes receive an employee award, and the inventors are invited to give an in-house lecture. We also hold special lectures by patent attorneys for engineers. Through the activities above, we are working on sharing and creating ideas for future technological development as well as improving employees’ awareness of patents.

R&D Investments

In the three-year business plan, BEACON 2030 Phase I, Nihon Kohden plans to actively undertake R&D investments for developing digital health solutions which the Company has defined as a new business. The Company has also identified the following items as material issues for sustainability: i) Developing and Providing Sensors which are Gentle on the Patient, and ii) Creating a Peaceful Patient Environment with Advanced Alarm Technology. The total amount of R&D costs is planned to be around 20.0 billion yen over three years.