Protection of intellectual properties

  • Materiality

In the Mizuno Corporation Ethical Standards, the Mizuno Group stipulates that 1) Implementing thorough measures for protecting intellectual property created by the company. 2) Respecting all third party intellectual property and not infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. Mizuno proactively acquires and utilizes intellectual property rights such as patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks, both in Japan and other countries around the world.
In regards to its own intellectual properties, Mizuno set up the Guideline on Intellectual Properties Managed by Mizuno (Intellectual Property Guideline). Referring to this guideline, Mizuno conducts prior research to ensure that new products do not infringe on the intellectual property rights owned by third parties. At the same time, we are committed to detecting counterfeit products and securing Mizuno’s brand value and users’ safety.

Protecting Mizuno’s own intellectual properties

Encouraging the acquisition of intellectual properties

Mizuno holds and protects many different technical patents and trademarks. We held training on intellectual property for employees involved in intellectual property, and more than 15 employees received the qualification of Certified Specialist of Intellectual Property Management in FY2018. We also encourage the aggressive acquisition of patents by giving awards for patent applications, new industrial designs and design applications.
26 patents and 4 design applications were awarded in FY2018.

Detecting counterfeits

Allowing a bad counterfeit to be sold under the Mizuno brand can potentially destroy Mizuno’s credibility in society. The sale of counterfeit products can also have a grave impact on the safety of users and as a result of accidents and other problems Depending on the information obtained from investigation companies, there are times Mizuno may enter factories outside Japan where counterfeit goods are made and confiscate them. In countries where our products are marketed, we take measures to prohibit shipments of counterfeits at customs. We also conduct investigations to find counterfeit goods sold at shops. Mizuno addressed changes in online sales and other business transactions, and stepped up its efforts to investigate sales of counterfeits on major e-commerce sites in the global market and take action to achieve the withdrawal of these items. In FY2018, we executed our rights over more than 4,700 exhibited counterfeit products.

Respecting intellectual properties owned by third parties

Measures for respecting intellectual properties owned by third parties

Mizuno engages in business activities that use a wide range of intellectual properties, such as brands, designs, patents, and portraits of famous athletes. The Guideline on Intellectual Properties Managed by Mizuno (Intellectual Property Guideline) was established in August 2008 and the Mizuno Design Order Guidelines was posted on Mizuno’s website in 2016 with the aim of preventing Mizuno’s intellectual properties from being used without permission at any stage, from development to sales. Mizuno takes action to ensure that the importance of intellectual properties is thoroughly understood by employees and by suppliers, and that intellectual property rights are protected.
Mizuno has also built a system for the prior inspection of products and advertising materials to check for infringements on rights, such as portrait rights and trademark rights, and violations of laws such as the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations and the Household Goods Quality Labelling Act Mizuno has built and implemented a system in which magazine ads, online ads, POP posters, and all other advertising materials must be reviewed on a database and approved by the judgment division before being published.In FY2016, Mizuno enhanced the program of granting permission to use advertising materials and equivalents for products to ensure the appropriate use of intellectual properties and compliance with the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations and other laws and ordinances.

When we enter a new product domain, we pay more attention to the scope of the technology rights of others with a design review meeting for reconfirmation at the planning and development stage.

Future issues to be addressed

  • Mizuno will continuously enhance interest in intellectual property and share its values by disseminating the relationship between Mizuno’s intellectual property and its business to all employees. We believe that this will lead to the effective protection of the company’s intellectual property.
  • By widening the scope of investigation on sales of counterfeit product on e-commerce sites, we will understand the situation in Southeast Asian countries that are strategically promoting brand exposure and will take measures such as stopping shipments of counterfeit products.