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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, function, and quality as an infrastructure services company, we will create new value with solutions that make the most of the customer relationships developed through these products, thereby contributing to society.

FY2019 Achievement

  • Technology development to tackle COVID-19
    • Smart Receipt to reduce physical contact
  • Acceleration of open innovation with external parties
    • Operational start of the world´s largest-class hydrogen production, Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R)
    • World’s first successful transmission of whole-genome sequencing data using quantum cryptography telecommunications technology
    • Development of apps in response to COVID-19 by ifLink Open Community
  • Participation in WIPO GREEN, a platform operated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to promote transfer of environmental technology

Future Challenges and Approaches

Focusing on six business areas that support people's lives and society — Energy System Solutions, Infrastructure System Solutions, Building Solutions, Retail & Printing Solutions, Electronic Devices & Storage Solutions, and Digital Solutions — we will create innovative technologies and globally promote research and development to resolve various societal issues by integrating solutions and services. In digital technology, a Toshiba area of strength based on devices, components, and AI, we will continue to enhance research and development and additionally leverage Toshiba IoT Reference Architecture to enhance the speed of delivery of infrastructure services. We have already used Toshiba IoT Reference Architecture to develop more than twelve services. Going forward, we will build on re-usable service components to continuously create services in the same way as goods are produced in a plant. Through this approach, and strengthened collaboration with external organizations, we will work to provide greater value to society more quickly as an infrastructure services company.

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, Building Solutions, Retail & Printing Solutions, Electronic Devices & Storage Solutions, and Digital Solutions and will create new values using reliable technology.
In the area of Energy System Solutions, we will promote increased safety and stability in the supply of conventional energy and improved efficiency in its use. In addition, we will contribute to realizing a low-carbon society by delivering devices, systems, and services for the generation, transmission, storage, and smart purchasing of clean energies including hydrogen. In the area of Infrastructure System Solutions, we will provide highly reliable technologies and services to a wide range of customers in fields supporting society and industry, including public infrastructure and railroad and industrial systems, with the aim of realizing a safe, secure, and reliable society. In the area of Building Solutions, we will create comfortable building environments by providing smart, high-quality elevators, air conditioners, lighting devices, and services. In the area of Retail & Printing Solutions, we will work with world-leading partners to create outstanding proprietary technologies, taking creation of customer value as our starting point in order to deliver reliable quality and performance together with highly convenient products and services in a timely fashion. In the area of Electronic Devices & Storage Solutions, with a view to building infrastructure for the Big Data society, we will progress with cutting-edge development of new semiconductor and storage products for various uses including industrial and automotive applications and storage functions for data centers. In the field of Digital Solutions, we will work together with customers to create digital services that are based on IoT and AI (artificial intelligence) and that make the most of our strength in 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
FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
295.5 billion yen 178.7 billion yen* 167.5 billion yen 158.9 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 5%.

Breakdown of R&D expenses (FY2019)

Breakdown of R&D expenses

Technological Contribution to COVID-19 Response Measures

Smart Receipt® Links up with Smartphone Apps to Reduce COVID-19 Infection Risk by Reducing Customer Physical Contact and Crowding (July 2020)

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, it is reportedly important to reduce situations involving physical contact and to avoid 3Cs (Closed space, Crowded space, and Close-contact settings). Using Toshiba Tec Corporation’s Smart Receipt®*, an electronic receipt system linked to the retailer’s own smartphone app, Toshiba Tec Corporation and Toshiba Data Corporation promote payment systems requiring no use of rewards cards or paper. This eliminates the two contact opportunities to deliver the card and the receipt. In addition, with the support of Toshiba Data Corporation, by issuing coupons from stores to customers that specify the effective date and time based on purchase data, it will lead to the distribution of customer visit times and promote the avoidance of 3Cs, which contributes to lowering COVID-19 infection risk. Through Smart Receipt®, Toshiba Tec Corporation and Toshiba Data Corporation provide both retailers and customers with added value and at the same time contribute to reducing COVID-19 infection risk.

* A system that enables consumers to digitize receipt print data at a cash register when a shopper makes a transaction. Shoppers can receive digitized receipt data simply by reading the barcode displayed on the smartphone app at the cash register.

Open innovation through collaboration with external organizations

Open Innovation through Collaboration with External Organizations

The World’s Largest Class Hydrogen Demonstration Facility FH2R Started Operation (March 2020)

The hydrogen demonstration facility Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R), which had been under construction since 2018 at Namie in Fukushima Prefecture in partnership between the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation, Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., and Iwatani Corporation, started operation following its completion at the end of February 2020. Tohoku Electric Power Network Co., Inc. and Asahi Kasei Corporation joined last September and the demonstration term has been extended until the end of February 2023. Equipped with a renewable energy-powered 10MW hydrogen manufacturing unit, placing it in the world’s largest class category, the facility has capacity to manufacture 1,200Nm3 of hydrogen per hour (at rated operation level) from renewable energy and other sources. To make maximum use of electric power from renewable sources, which is subject to great fluctuation in output, the facility will balance demand and supply using the electric power grid. The aim is to establish a low-cost, green hydrogen manufacturing technology.

The world´s largest-class hydrogen production, Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) now is completed at Namie town in Fukushima.

Expansion and reinforcement of technology development project for practical storage and use of energy using hydrogen

Overview of the project

Overview of the project

World-first Demonstration of Real-time Transmission of Whole-genome Sequence Data Using Quantum Cryptography(January 2020)

In partnership with Tohoku University Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo), Toshiba realized the world’s first successful transmission of full-genome sequencing data, which has a data volume of multiple hundreds of gigabytes, by using quantum cryptography telecommunications. Now, Toshiba and ToMMo have developed a system for sequential encryption and sequential transmission of large-volume data and used it to realize real-time transmission of whole-genome sequencing data. This achievement demonstrates that quantum cryptography technology can be used for the transmission of large-volume data and that it can be used at a practical level in the field of genome research and genomic medicine. Going forward, Toshiba will continue with initiatives aimed at the practical use of quantum cryptography technology in a wide range of applications from medicine to finance, telecommunications, and infrastructure. ToMMo likewise will continue applying safe and secure ICT technology for the realization of the medical treatments of the future based on genomic data.

World-first Demonstration of Real-time Transmission of Whole-genome Sequence Data Using Quantum Cryptography

Outline of successfully developed genome analysis data transmission system

Outline of successfully developed genome analysis data transmission system

  • A part of this work was performed for Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), Photonics and Quantum Technology for Society 5.0 (Funding agency: QST).

Using ifLink for Co-creation of Smartphone-based Responses to COVID-19 (April-May 2020)

The ifLink Open Community*, established by Toshiba and Toshiba Digital Solutions Co., Ltd., is an IoT platform that integrates a range of IoT devices and web-based services as modules so that users can effortlessly and conveniently design their own combinations. The COVID-19 Response Subcommittee is active among interested enterprises that are ifLink Open Community members and is chaired by Toshiba Digital Solutions Co., Ltd., with Alps Alpine Co., Ltd., as deputy manager and numerous other enterprises as members. The committee is engaged in devising, prototyping, and verifying of new COVID-19 response solutions that can be deployed in frontline operations. AntiCluster is an app that uses a Bluetooth signal to count the number of people in the immediate vicinity and assess the risk, thus contributing to reducing COVID-19 infection risk by relieving crowding. We are now aiming to strengthen its function to realize a tablet version that can be fitted in retail stores and facilities to count the number of people in the vicinity. ThermoDetector is an app that detects a person with fever by combining a smartphone with an infra-red camera. We are working to commercialize it in collaboration with the community member COSMOWAY Inc. The community's activities are enjoying increasing recognition, with the apps presented here having been rated highly by various bodies including Japan's Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Going forward, we will take advantage of the distinctive nature of the ifLink Open Community with its many participating enterprises to contribute to the resolution of social issues.

* ifLink Open Community allows people in its wide variety of member enterprises and associations to interact freely across organizational boundaries, creating an environment where everyone has effortless access to IoT.

Outline of ifLink

Outline of ifLink

Illustration of AntiCluster app

Illustration of AntiCluster app

Illustration of ThermoDetector

Illustration of ThermoDetector

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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 identifies intellectual property as a tool that contributes to business activities. In addition to continuing to strengthen the intellectual property abilities that have underpinned the Toshiba Group’s accumulated strengths in physical and cyber technologies, we will continue with initiatives to reinforce strategic planning ability in terms of intellectual property as part of the cyber physical system (CPS) business model including open/closed strategies. Through proactive utilization of the intellectual property resulting from research and development, we will deliver continuous new value to society.

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

FY2019 Patent portfolio by country
FY2019 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.
Meanwhile, the intellectual property divisions of research laboratories and key Group companies pursue intellectual property strategies in their respective development and business domains and work to strengthen their intellectual property activities in order to build a superior intellectual property portfolio.

Toshiba Group Intellectual Property Management Structure

Toshiba Group Intellectual Property Management Structure

Participation in WIPO GREEN

In order to contribute to global environmental conservation through the utilization of patents and other intellectual properties, Toshiba has registered environmental technology-related patent rights with WIPO GREEN, a platform operated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to promote global transfer of environmental technology. Toshiba will continue working through this initiative to roll out environment-related technologies and intellectual properties worldwide, thus helping to resolve climate change and other environment-related social issues and contributing to the fulfillment of the SDGs.


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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