The Kikkoman Group aggressively seek patents for inventions, which are determined to greatly contribute to our business by registering it as a patent, with a purpose of exclusively executing it, thereby aiming at acquiring such rights. In addition, if we determine that patent registrations by other companies would greatly limit the execution of such rights, we may make a defensive patent application to stop other companies from registering such patents.

Patent right

Change in number of patents owned by the Kikkoman Group in the past five years is as follows.

<Graph: Change in number of patents owned in the past five years>

Due to our strategic and proactive patent acquisitions, the number of patents has been increasing both within and outside of Japan. As a result of this, we are executing the periodic review to judge if we should maintain the rights. Intellectual property that does not meet the companies needs will be released.

Contribution to our business

The Kikkoman Group owns accumulated technology and knowhow on food development/production and safety of foods that include soy sauce, and positions these expertises as important intellectual properties, while emphasizing upholding competitive dominance in the market by applying patents, registering such rights for each type of related technology by product group. For example, the patent occupancy rate for soy sauce in Japan, which has continuously maintained the largest market share, reflects high technology and is contributing to the maintenance of being a leader in the industry.