Intellectual property strategy, management, and outcome application
Intellectual property strategy, management, and outcome application
We actively encourage innovation and independent research and development. The priorities in our intellectual property strategy are focusing on core technologies and developing good quality patents. Meanwhile, we continue to promote the concept of a "patent portfolio", and employ highly promising technologies to drive the creation of good quality patents. We are also constantly managing risks to reduce the infringement risk. Furthermore, we are moving toward strengthening R&D outcome commoditization and enhancing brand images by creating added value from intellectual property. We aim to operate in all areas of our business and maximize the value of intellectual property while managing and utilizing effectively our patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights.
As part of our ongoing commitment to intellectual property, we have implemented the Intellectual Property Management Procedure to regulate and manage the grant of right, maintenance, and utilization of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property. The procedure serves to help LITEON compete in the market and protect the rights of itself and its shareholders.
Patent management measures:
We have implemented a sub-procedure, "Invention Application and Incentive Award Program", under the Intellectual Property Management Procedure. We have a well-established disclosures, review committee, and incentive program to encourage our employees to turn R&D outcomes into protected intellectual property (including patent application, trade secret, or thesis publication). The effort will generate momentum for R&D and innovation in products and technologies. We also try to file good patents to build up powerful patent portfolio for the company as a whole and pave the way for the company to compete more effectively in the tech industry.
Trade secret management measures:
Our "Engineering Notebook Management Procedure" is designed to manage the entire intellectual property innovation process. It enables the R&D personnel to record their work outcomes in an easier and more effective manner for easier reference, access to supporting documents, and long term storage. The procedure protects LITEON's R&D results and trade secrets effectively in order to accumulate and pass on the company's entire R&D database and intellectual property. It also helps the company stand out more. The Engineering Notebook is developed by combining LITEON's operating system and approval system. It allows the R&D personnel to record research outcomes on a computer and R&D supervisors to review and approve work electronically. The move from paper to electronic allows recording, approval, and storage without time and space constraints. The company is able to retain complete R&D outcomes more economically.
Meanwhile, for the purpose of protecting the company's intellectual property, employees joining the company are required to sign an employment agreement and related documents to agree, in addition to making their inventions created on the job as required by law of the intellectual property of the company, to undertake the duty to safeguard the confidentiality of the company's intellectual property rights and trade secrets and other obligations for the duration of employment and after termination of employment.
Trademark management measures:
We have also a trademark management system. The system establishes the procedures for application, evaluation, acquisition, and maintenance of trademarks, and promotes the correct use of trademarks. It serves the purpose of protecting LITEON's intangible assets, establishing and maintaining LITEON's reputation, and protecting LITEON's brand interests by preventing from trademark squatting.
Furthermore, we perform regular internal audits of the R&D cycle every year in order to ensure the acquisition, maintenance, and utilization of the intellectual property are handled in accordance with LITEON's rules.
In addition, we have implemented the Patent Incentive Award Procedure so to have well-established systems and processes to encourage our employees to turn R&D outcomes into protected intellectual property (including patent application, trade secret, or thesis publication). The effort will generate momentum for R&D and innovation in products and technologies. We also try to file good patents to build up powerful patent portfolio for the company as a whole and pave the way for the company to compete more effectively in the tech industry.
We have also implemented the Trademark Management Procedure to govern the application, evaluation, acquisition, and maintenance of trademarks.
We have also implemented the Engineering Notebook Management Procedure. It serves the purpose of effectively protecting the company's R&D outcomes and intellectual property rights. It requires R&D personnel record in writing outcomes of their work in detail so to facilitate viewing and long-term preservation and help the company accumulate intellectual property and become more competitive.
Our Trade Secret Management Procedure sets the rules for the categorization, classification, and labeling of confidential information in the company. We also take appropriate confidentiality measures to prevent the theft, alteration, damage, destruction, or leakage of confidential information. There are also controls in place to manage access to view confidential information.
Moreover, for the purpose of protecting the company's intellectual property, employees joining the company are required to sign related employment agreements to agree, in addition to making their inventions created on the job as required by law of the intellectual property of the company, to undertake the duty to safeguard the confidentiality of the company's intellectual property rights and trade secrets and other obligations for the duration of employment and after termination of employment.
We perform regular internal audits of the R&D cycle every year in order to ensure the acquisition, maintenance, and utilization of the intellectual property comply with the company's regulations.
We present one or more intellectual property management report to the board of directors every year. The last report was presented on April 29, 2020. The next report is scheduled for Q2 2021.
We have been working hard to develop the intellectual property management plan. Key activities in recent years are as follows:
We had been building a system for various forms of intellectual property for the company. (The Intellectual Property Management Procedure Version 2, the Invention Application and Incentive Award Program Version I, and the Engineering Notebook Management Procedure Version 1 were revised in 2020.)
We refined our intellectual property management plan. Improvements included the introduction of quality indicators for R&D personnel's patent applications, performance evaluation mechanisms and related reward programs. The objective is to focus on key R&D technologies effectively and generate effective protection for intellectual property rights.
The patent management system was optimized.
Several training sessions were held to raise awareness of basic ideas of intellectual property rights every year.
In summary, our outcomes in intellectual property are the following:
Patents: As of the end of 2020, LITEON has a total of 2,400 patent applications and 2,000 granted patents, including 1,500 utility patents. These patents are spread across a number of major markets and countries and cover main places of manufacture and sale for related products. In particular, the technical field covers our core products, including LITEON's LED products, power supply units, servers and network communication parts, multifunction machines, computer input devices and chassis, automotive electronic parts and other core products. Core technologies included opto-electronics, cloud computing, AI, smart home, network communication, storage, smart lighting, smart automobile, and imaging. A huge amount of patent data are handled systematically entirely by the LITEON patent database. The process makes it easier to track the status of patent applications and issued patents and subsequent maintenance.
Trademarks: So far LITEON has more than two hundred granted trademarks spread across ten categories and registered in more than forty countries in order to ensure LITEON's products, including opto-electronics, information, automotive, lighting, and storage products can be protected by these trademarks. Meanwhile, to enhance the brand image and recognition, we place our trademarks not only on the products and the exterior packaging, but also on business documents, such as product catalogs and income certificates. In addition, we make it ongoing standard practice to use our trademarks in all domestic and international business activities and exhibitions. Furthermore, we organize internal education and training sessions as needed to raise awareness of the correct use of trademarks.
Partnerships: We work with well-known universities around the world in various cooperation programs, such as the R&D center established jointly with National Tsing Hua University. These programs help us secure technologies and patents for key technologies in the business. More than a hundred theses have been published on domestic and international journals under these programs. These partnerships with research institutions, such as National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, attract outstanding talent to join LITEON. We also work actively with upstream/downstream suppliers to develop and facilitate related patents.
To encourage technical innovation and creativity, we have created the Innovell Creativity Center (ICC) to handle primarily innovative product development, innovative aesthetic design, graphic packaging design, multimedia visual design, user experience design, and IoT and app integration design. The adoption of digital technologies and environmental policies in recent years extends the responsibilities of ICC further to cover cloud platform integration, augmented reality (AR) application and green packaging design. For example: the success in creating a smart streetlight IoT control panel and its application in large domestic government projects; recycling marine waste and turning marine waste keyboard packages into environmentally friendly board game cards and marine waste mouse packages into card holders in order to raise awareness of marine waste in the next generation through a combination of education and entertainment. The design received an iF Design Award in 2020.
Furthermore, to fulfill our corporate social responsibility and drive innovation in Taiwan, LITEON hosts the LITEON Award, which is open to the public, every year. By hosting competitions, campus innovation seminars, and international forums, we continue to call attention to technologies, products, and innovative designs in the Chinese-speaking world. We also provide young creative teams with a platform for exchanging ideas with world-class corporate, academic, technical experts and social resources in Taiwan. Starting in 2021, the LITEON Award will become known instead as the LITEON Geekathon. The focus will be shifted to technology, and the contest topics will be closely aligned with LITEON's direction for future development. The purpose of the event will be to facilitate industry-academia collaboration and help entries find their place in the industry.
We work hard to invigorate and manage the existing intellectual property, such as receiving royalty from licensee, cross license, purchase, sale or trust of intellectual property, and anti-counterfeiting efforts. We sometimes use patents as weapons to open doors and form strategic alliances to create win-win situations. There have been many successes with invigorating intellectual property to create profits for the company, improving the brand image, increasing market shares for specific products, and winning clients' trust. Meanwhile, we continue to innovate and develop new products and technologies. Through the coordination among different entities in the LITEON Group, we can establish an intellectual property wall which increases LITEON’s advantage and competitiveness.
We take an active approach to facing and handling intellectual property disputes as appropriate with priority given to protecting the company's market, products, technologies, and clients. We do not seek out fights, nor do we shy from challenges. Besides following the dispute resolution mechanisms to perform technical, legal, and industrial analyses and formulate dispute resolution strategies, we utilize various models to erect technical barriers to trade for competitors, thereby acquiring protection of intellectual property rights or avoiding infringement on patents of others.
To ensure LITEON's information assets are adequately protected while following the trend of going paperless and electronic transmission, we have implemented an ISO 27001:2013 compliant information security policy. To prevent hacker attacks and theft of the company's confidential information, we have installed information security monitoring systems and implemented Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP). Digital cloud tools, such as Microsoft Office 365, and encryption, identification and authorization rules are utilized to protect confidential business documents. Furthermore, in terms of security in the real world, all of our employees and external parties (including clients, consultants, partners and suppliers) are inside the scope of this policy.
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