Voice of Employees

―Intellectual Property Activities that can be Experienced at Epson―

Voice of Intellectual Property Division Members

We invited four people in Epson's Intellectual Property Division to talk about the experiences they acquired through Epson's intellectual property activities and what interests them and appeals to them about working in the IP field at Epson.

Expanding the realm of experience from patent application prosecution to IP landscape surveys


Since I major in the sciences at university, I started my career in patent application prosecution in the printer field. Later, to accumulate experience in the upstream stages of product commercialization, I was assigned to patent application prosecution work in the field of technology development. I became involved in the formulation and promotion of IP strategies in addition to application prosecution for various development projects involving sensors and such that were being launched at the time. I also gained experience in contractual work in joint development with universities and external partners. I am currently engaged in daily operations with the goal of contributing to management and business strategies through the use of IP landscapes.

I think one of the major characteristics of the Intellectual Property Division is that we can experience a wide range of operations within a single department, including not only patent application prosecution but also IP strategy formulation and strategic proposals utilizing IP landscapes. I myself have been engaged in a wide range of work while experiencing a sense of growth. In my current duties, I am deeply involved with the business and development groups from the upstream stage of business, such as the creation of new businesses and planning proposals, with the goal of promoting innovation and creating the future. I would like to grow along with the rest of the team so that we can create and nurture businesses together.

Worldwide trademark management in collaboration with operations divisions and sales and marketing


When I joined the company, I was assigned to a department that had nothing to do with intellectual property, but since I wanted to acquire some expertise and work in some specialized field, I applied for a transfer to the Intellectual Property Division. I was placed in the trademark management department, where my main duties were to obtain and manage rights to the Epson Group's trademarks. At the time, the organization was just starting to strengthen its trademark operations, so I, as well as other people in the department, often found myself grappling with uncertainty but eventually learned the job through trial and error.

For some time after my transfer, my duties focused on procedures for acquiring and maintaining rights, but eventually, I became responsible for handling trademark-related contracts and managing trademarks for domestic and overseas Epson Group affiliates. I also became involved in brand management and the acquisition and sale of businesses from a trademark management standpoint. Another thing I was involved in was the development of an internal system for domain name management.

Later, after a period of maternity and childcare leave, I became a manager.

For manufacturers, intellectual property may have a strong image of patents, but patents are not the only important rights in the execution of business activities. It is also necessary to provide broad support to operation departments based on intellectual property rights, not merely to obtain rights. So, the nature of work and required abilities also vary greatly. So, although there are challenges, this is a very rewarding place to work. Because the Intellectual Property Division offers a variety of opportunities to flourish and advance, I feel that this is a workplace where you can develop a diverse career, even if you take maternity or childcare leave and even while raising children.

Transition from patent application prosecution to liaison work using patent rights


When I joined the company, I was assigned to the Intellectual Property Division, where my duties included prosecuting patent applications for printer-related technologies and reviewing other companies' patents. Following this, I was sent to work as a trainee at a U.S. patent firm. Currently, I am engaged in liaison work of rights utilization in Europe and China. Working closely with local attorneys, I am engaged in things such as infringement verification, litigation procedures, and negotiations with opponents. It is rewarding to contribute to business through these activities that help to maintain and improve the company's brand and technological superiority.

At Epson, we are engaged in a wide range of work that involve a mix of IP, from patents to trademarks to design rights, and we have a team of people who have diverse experience in handling the many types of work that we do. As an organization, we have created an environment that allows people from different backgrounds to thrive and actively engage with various interests.

As for me, my knowledge and experience in liaison work are still limited and I have a lot to learn. I want to learn as much as possible and improve my ability to respond to situations while working with the other members of the IP team, as well as people in the operations divisions, outside attorneys, and others. I would also like to be able to plan and implement IP activities that contribute to business at a higher level.

More strategic patent acquisition activities in collaboration with the invention department


From the time I joined the company, I have been involved mainly in patent application prosecution. At first I worked in application prosecution for the development department. I am currently in charge of application prosecution for the software design department. I felt that application prosecution for the development department was rewarding work because I was able to apply for and obtain patents for technologies that had not yet been implemented by other companies. On the other hand, in the technical field that I am currently in charge of, there are many competitors, and I do my work while thinking about how to protect Epson's technology using patents as a fortress.

Having the opportunity to gain experience in such different fields has been a valuable asset for me.

Epson's IP activities occupy a position of high importance in the company's business activities. For example, while it is necessary to file applications for technologies to be incorporated in products, it is also important from a strategic perspective to file applications with an eye to the future. For this, we need the cooperation of people on the ground, which is hard to obtain without the agreement and support of operations division management. This is where Epson excels. Epson emphasizes IP activities, making it possible for us to obtain information from inventors with the approval of the operations divisions. It is tremendously rewarding for me when I am able to convince inventors to engage with me to achieve a goal. In areas other than application prosecution, I have duties related to the utilization of our own patents and evaluation of other companies' patents. Such work often has to be done within a short deadline, but even with such restrictions, working as a team toward a goal and achieving results is rewarding.

So, for me, the attraction of working in IP is being able to strategically plan and execute IP activities for the company.