Protection of intellectual property


Basic Concepts

Section "6. Intellectual property" of the Mizuno Corporation Ethical Standards stipulates that "1) Implementing thorough measures for protecting intellectual property created by the company" and "2) Respecting all third party intellectual property and not infringing on the intellectual property rights of others." For our own intellectual property, we actively acquire and use intellectual property rights, including patents, utility models, designs, and trademarks, in Japan and overseas. We also strive to detect counterfeit products to ensure our brand value and user safety. For the intellectual property of others, we have established guidelines and various screening systems to prevent infringement on their intellectual property rights.

Protection of our own intellectual property

Encouragement of intellectual property acquisition

Mizuno, through its technological and design developments, strives to secure the technical superiority of its products by protecting the results with patents and designs. We also endeavor to strengthen our product brand by protecting the naming of goods and services with trademarks. To ensure such protection of intellectual property, we provide intellectual property education to employees involved in intellectual property, heightening their awareness towards the acquisition of rights.

Furthermore, we operate an invention incentive system, granting appropriate rewards to employees who have created patents, utility models, and designs. This promotes the active acquisition of patents and other rights, cultivating an environment where original product development continues. For the fiscal year 2022, the implementation award recognized 11 patents, and the registration award was presented to 26 patents and 13 designs.

Detection of counterfeit products

The sale of inferior counterfeit products of the Mizuno brand not only leads to the loss of the company’s social credibility but also has a great impact on the safety of users, including causing an accident.

We have requested a crackdown on counterfeit products at customs, and in the countries where such products are sold, we collect information in cooperation with our subsidiaries at each overseas base and conduct investigations to detect counterfeit products as needed. Recently, in response to changes in commercial transactions, including an increase in internet sales, we have continued to investigate the sales status of counterfeit products on major global e-commerce and social networking sites and to take measures, including requiring the suspension of listing of counterfeit products. In FY 2022, we requested the deletion of more than 1,900 counterfeit products listed on sales websites.

Respect for the intellectual property of others

System for respecting the intellectual property of others

We conduct business activities that utilize a variety of intellectual properties, including brands, designs, patents, and portraits of famous athletes. In order not to use the intellectual property of others without permission at any stage, from development to sales, we established the Guidelines on Intellectual Properties Managed by Mizuno (Intellectual Property Guidelines) in August 2008 and posted the Mizuno Design Order Guidelines on our website in 2016. Through this, we ensure that the importance of intellectual property rights is understood by employees. We also ask our business partners to understand their importance and comply with intellectual property rights rules.

For advertising materials as well as products, we have established a system for conducting a preliminary check on compliance with various rights, including portrait rights and trademark rights, and with the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Presentations and other laws and regulations so that we will not commit any violations. We have established and operate a system in which all advertising materials, including magazine advertisements, web advertisements, and storefront posters, should be approved on the database by the evaluation and judgment division before being released to the public.

As we venture into new product fields, we exercise increased caution regarding others’ technical rights. We conduct checks during the design review stage of planning and development to avoid any infringements. In fiscal year 2022, there were no instances of violation regarding marketing communication regulations or voluntary standards.

Future issues to be addressed

  • We will continue to share values on intellectual property among all employees by further making them realize how our intellectual property is involved in business activities, thereby raising their interest in intellectual property. We believe that this will lead to the effective protection of our intellectual property.
  • We will expand the scope of investigation on the sales status of counterfeit products on e-commerce sites to grasp the situation in Southeast Asian countries, where our brand exposure is increasing strategically, and take measures, including requiring the suspension of shipment of counterfeit products.