“Discussions around how to structure the provision of Panasonic Group’s intangible assets and the introduction of technologies started about seven years ago, and since then we’ve connected with many local research institutes and startups,” says Tokuda. “Our ability to function as a matching platform has allowed us to accumulate significant know-how and deep personal networks, leading to the creation of new businesses.”
The IP Department’s initiative began with the desire to “connect needs and seeds” within the Panasonic Group, where it is often difficult to apply technologies across business companies due to the large number of people and locations in their respective engineering departments.
When developing new products on a market-in basis, it has often been difficult for product and business planners to see what kinds of technologies the company had, or for engineers to know if their efforts matched the actual needs of society.
“To solve these problems, we wanted a system that indexes technical information in terms that are easy to grasp for non-technical people—sales and planning teams, for example—and would allow them to search for technical data and historical information on people who are knowledgeable about technology and intellectual property and the people in charge,” explains Tokuda. “It’s only been a year since launch, and the system still needs to be updated to improve search function accuracy, but we’re confident that it will become an extremely useful tool.”
From the IP Department’s perspective, if it becomes easier for engineers to share knowledge with each other and for sales and planning staff to consult and mediate with engineers based on patent information that explains who invented what, when they invented it, and what kind of invention it is, then the use of such information as intangible assets will also increase. In the future, the department would like to use accumulated search logs to visualize the company’s technological needs, and to utilize them in its R&D roadmap.