Research & Development and Intellectual Property

Toshiba Group's goal is to pave the way for a safe, secure and comfortable society by creating and offering through our technology new value that leads to the solution for global-scale social issues. We aim to do this by listening at all times to the demands of the market and our customers, and by maximizing the achievements we have made during our research and development through a global intellectual property strategy.

Medium- to Long-term Vision

In addition to providing products with outstanding performance, functions, and quality, we create new value with solutions that make the most of relationships with customers developed through such products, thereby contributing to society.

FY2018 Achievement

  • Acceleration of open innovation with outside organizations
    • Electromagnet for particle accelerators using a high-temperature superconductivity
    • Support of greater productivity in the smart factory field through integration of IoT and imaging technology
      • Development of a robot platform
      • Strengthening of R&D for AI technology
  • Ranked third in the world (first in Japan) for AI-related technology patents by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Future Challenges and Approaches

Focusing on four business areas (Social Infrastructure, Energy, Electronic Devices, and Industrial ICT Solutions) that support people's lives and society, we will create innovative technologies and globally promote R&D to solve various societal issues by integrating solutions and services. We will also continue to enhance collaboration with external organizations to provide greater value to society more quickly. We will achieve this by combining not only data from the cyber world but also physical data from various objects in the real world with the aim of becoming one of the world’s leading companies in technology related to cyber physical systems (CPS).

Evaluation by External Parties

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Research and Development

Research and development strategy

The social issues we are faced with today, such as resource and energy issues resulting from population increases, as well as climate change and environmental problems, are becoming more diverse and complex than ever. Toshiba Group focuses on areas that support people's lives and society when selecting R&D themes with a view to contributing to the realization of the SDGs, namely Energy System Solutions, Infrastructure System Solutions, Storage & Electronic Devices Solutions, and Industrial ICT Solutions, and will create new values using reliable technology.
In the area of Energy System Solutions, we will promote the safe and stable supply and efficient use of conventional energy. In addition, we will contribute to realizing a low-carbon society by providing the world with technology and services that create, distribute and store clean energy, including sustainable energy and hydrogen. In the area of Infrastructure System Solutions, we will provide highly reliable technologies and services to a wide range of customers supporting society and industry, including public infrastructure, buildings and facilities, and railroad and industrial systems with the aim of realizing a safe, secure, and reliable society. In Storage & Electronic Devices Solutions, with a view to building infrastructure for a Big Data society, we will develop new cutting-edge semiconductors for various domains, such as storage for data centers, industrial and automotive applications. In the area of Industrial ICT Solutions, we will work together with customers to create digital services using the IoT and AI that make the most of our industrial know-how.

Toshiba Group Research & Development Structure

Toshiba conducts research and development in locations that best suit the purpose in question, both in terms of leading in a technical sense based on seeds and concepts, and of leading in terms of product planning and the business model. We have a research and development structure in which our research and development sites are categorized into the following: Corporate Research & Development Center that tackles medium- to long-term basic research; works laboratories of the Group companies that engage in medium-term component technology development; and engineering departments of key Group companies that deal with product technology that realizes products and services. This structure is optimal for solving technological challenges.

Toshiba Group Research & Development Structure

Toshiba Group Research & Development Structure

Major R&D bases in Japan and overseas

Major R&D bases in Japan and overseas

Toshiba has built research and development sites in the U.S., Europe, China, India, Vietnam and so on that conduct a wide array of cutting-edge global research and development in collaboration with Toshiba Group's technological development sites in Japan and abroad. In order to boost our global competitiveness, we are improving our capacity to respond swiftly to changes in the market, in our research and development as well. Particularly in China and the rest of Asia, where markets are expanding, we are working to build not only manufacturing sites, but also local engineering sites and development sites. In the future, we will base our research and development in developing countries, and produce products for the global market, including developed countries.

R&D expenses
FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
3,609 billion yen 2,955 billion yen 1,787 billion yen* 1,675 billion yen
  • * Excludes R&D expenses related to the memory business field. Including this field, total R&D expenses come to 297.8 billion yen.

The ratio of R&D expenses to sales in Toshiba Group stands at approximately 6%.

Breakdown of R&D expenses

Breakdown of R&D expenses

Open innovation through collaborations with external parties

Successful Functional Demonstration of Electromagnet for Particle Accelerators Using High-Temperature Superconductivity (December 2018)

A joint research group consisting of Kyoto University, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization and National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology have developed a high-temperature superconducting electromagnet for accelerators that can be cooled without using liquid helium, where there are fears of resource depletion, and conducted a verification experiment with a heavy ion medical accelerator (HIMAC). The findings showed that a strong 2.4 tesla magnetic field could help guide the carbon-ion beam for cancer treatment and enable stable operation. In addition, it was confirmed that stable operation of the electromagnet is possible even when the magnetic field is repeatedly and rapidly changed.

Figure 1. Exterior of the high-temperature superconducting electromagnet

Figure 1. Exterior of the high-temperature superconducting electromagnet

Figure 2. Coil arrangement inside the high-temperature superconducting electromagnet

Figure 2. Coil arrangement inside the high-temperature superconducting electromagnet

Figure 3. Ultra-compact heavy ion beam cancer treatment (rotating gantry) Provided by Kansai Photon Science Institute, National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology

Figure 3. Ultra-compact heavy ion beam cancer treatment (rotating gantry)
Provided by Kansai Photon Science Institute, National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology

Toshiba Digital Solutions and Canon Collaborate in the Smart Factory Field (November 2018)

Toshiba Digital Solutions Co., Ltd. and Canon Inc. have started collaborating in the smart factory* field using the Internet of Things (IoT) and imaging technology of both companies. The image analysis software "Vision Edition" and abnormality monitoring/recording software "Monitoring Edition" developed by Canon is combined with the Meister Series™ of IoT solutions developed by Toshiba Digital Solutions. Associating and storing image data gained from image processing with Vision Edition and images recorded with Monitoring Edition to IoT data gathered with the Meister Series™ enables more precise and efficient identification of the operating status at a production site. This makes advanced on-site analysis possible and contributes to enhanced quality and productivity.

  • * Advanced factories which realize improvement of productivity and quality through collecting and analyzing various data by introducing IoT into factories.

Toshiba Digital Solutions and Canon Collaborate in the Smart Factory Field (November 2018)(Japanese)

Development of a Robot Platform Aimed at Introducing Robots to Unutilized Areas (October 2018)

Toshiba is working on a robot platform* that unitizes robot hardware into functions and creates platforms from software, thus enabling the development of robots with low costs and short delivery time for unutilized areas. A prototype robot was developed using the platform to stock products in a store. This was made possible by combining technology for recognizing sandwiches using a marker from the Tsuyoshi Tasaki Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology, Meijo University with a mobile unit capable of robotic translation/turning in any direction and highly accurate positional stopping and a gripping unit that can be switched on and off wirelessly and pick up around 550g, both developed by Toshiba. The prototype robot was entered into the international robot competition of World Robot Summit 2018 through team U.T.T. (joint team of Toshiba and Tsuyoshi Tasaki Laboratory, Meijo University), securing first place in the Stock and Disposal Task of the Future Convenience Store Challenge (FCSC) Service Category. The robot was awarded the overall prize in the FCSC and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award.

  • * In parallel with this technological development, a general-purpose autonomous mobile robot platform has been developed under Technology Development Project for Robot Commercialization Applications by New Energy And Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which was put to use in this robot.

World Robot Challenge 2018

The robot stocking products

The robot stocking products

Holding a product using the suction pad unit

Holding a product using the suction pad unit

Enhancement of R&D in AI Technology (July, August, October and December 2018)

Toshiba has conducted development and verification experiments in various projects using its own AI technology including with SATLYS™. Toshiba Group was ranked third in the world (the first in Japan) by applicant in a report on AI technology patents that have gained worldwide attention announced by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in January 2019. In addition to further enhancing the AI technology that has been accumulated over many years, the Group will encourage co-creation with all kinds of companies and organizations and integrate the cross-industry knowledge and knowhow to contribute to the creation of new lifestyles and businesses.

  • * Toshiba's analytics AI "SATLYS™" is a service that applies Toshiba's insights and achievements in manufacturing to AI design to realize high-precision recognition, forecasting, cause prediction, anomaly detection, malfunction prediction and behavior prediction. By offering solutions that use SATLYS to analyze inspection data, sensor data, work data, and behavioral data, Toshiba is accelerating the digital transformation of its customers.

Toshiba Digital Solutions and JUNPUZI Launch Trials for AI-based Demand Responsive Rideshare Transportation

Automatic identification of athletes with 98.1% accuracy using AI image analysis (99.3% as of January 2019)(Japanese)

Joint development of AI for Prediction of Risk of Lifestyle Diseases Including Diabetes, Etc.

Toshiba's Compaction Technology for Deep Neural Networks Opens Way to High Accuracy Recognition Processing on Edge Devices

On an order for a machine translation system from Japan Patent Office (Japanese)

Accurate Real-Time Recognition of Relay Road Race Teams Using AI Image Analysis (99.3% accuracy as of January, 2019)

Accurate Real-Time Recognition of Relay Road Race Teams Using AI Image Analysis  (99.3% accuracy as of January, 2019)

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Protection of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy

Toshiba Group's basic policy on intellectual property rights is to observe laws and regulations associated with them, to protect the results of intellectual activities with the rights and thus make extensive use of those results, and to respect the legitimate intellectual property rights of third parties. This policy is stipulated in the Standards of Conduct for Toshiba Group.

Toshiba is also making efforts to bolster and utilize actively our intellectual property that contributes to business development with expanding contribution to business through intellectual property as a basic policy. Going forward, in implementing the Toshiba Next Plan, we will continue to reinforce our intellectual property capabilities supporting the physical technologies the Toshiba Group has accumulated. At the same time, we will support both competition and co-creation through our intellectual property as we look to bolster our intellectual property capabilities supporting the realization of Cyber Physical Systems.

Standards of Conduct for Toshiba Group 12. Intellectual Property Rights

Toshiba Group's intellectual property (IP) strategy

Toshiba Group's intellectual property (IP) strategy

Global patents portfolio

FY2018 Patent portfolio by country
FY2018 patent portfolio by business

Our Structure Concerning Intellectual Property

The organizational structure of the Intellectual Property Division is composed of the corporate Intellectual Property Office, and the intellectual property divisions at our individual laboratories and key Group companies. The corporate Intellectual Property Office formulates and promotes company-wide strategy and measures regarding intellectual property, handles contracts and disputes, manages patent information and deals with matters related to intellectual property right laws, such as the Copyright Law. On the other hand, the intellectual property divisions at laboratories and key Group companies promote intellectual property strategies based on their respective operations, and strive to enhance intellectual property, in order to build an excellent intellectual property portfolio.

Toshiba Group Intellectual Property Management Structure

Toshiba Group Intellectual Property Management Structure

Measures against Counterfeit Products

The Toshiba brand symbolizes the value of the Toshiba Group as a corporation, and the value of the products or services that we offer. Failure to take action against counterfeits of Toshiba products would pose not only the risk of damage to Toshiba's brand value and public confidence, but also the risk of purchasing counterfeit products that do not meet the quality expectations of customers who mistake them for genuine products. For this reason, we strive to eradicate counterfeit products, collaborating with domestic and overseas anti-counterfeit organizations, and are actively appealing to local bodies such as government agencies for more stringent control.

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