Our Policy and Strategy
The TOMY Group has always sought to manufacture ingenious products as part of its drive to create new value through play, and grow products such as TOMICA, PLARAIL, LICCA, and BEYBLADE into brands that are loved by people of all generations. Going forward, we intend to continue pursuing aggressive intellectual property strategies as one measure to strengthen our core toy business.
Our Intellectual Property Team, which provides advice on intellectual property rights across the TOMY Group, is positioned within our Legal Affairs Group. The team works with each of our business divisions and technology divisions to investigate intellectual property such as patents, design rights, trademark rights and copyrights, to acquire and manage rights, and to investigate and respond to any infringement of rights through the production of counterfeit products or other means. We work systematically to prevent the infringement of intellectual property rights from the very early stages of product and service development, to acquire multiple rights early, and to monitor and take measures against any counterfeit products or rights infringements, so that we can establish and grow our brands.
Acquiring Multiple Intellectual Property Rights
The TOMY Group actively pursues intellectual property rights for our product design, development and own unique brands, and we lead the industry in IP applications (ranked 15th in design patents acquired. Source: Japan Patent Office Statistics Data in 2020). By acquiring and holding multiple intellectual property rights for individual brands and merchandise, we establish brand value, including technologies and play, and facilitate the sustainable growth of that brand. We share information about our intellectual property across the Group, and support creative product development by actively utilizing and protecting that intellectual property. In recent years, we have also been aggressively promoting improved quality and the early acquisition of patent rights, as well as the acquisition of intellectual property rights in international markets to match our developing business in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Countering Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights
The TOMY Group works tirelessly to protect our brands by rejecting any counterfeit products. Actions such as the manufacture and sales of counterfeit products that infringe intellectual property rights and the posting on social media of copyrighted material without permission can damage our brand value and injure our customers. For those reasons, we execute intellectual property rights and take appropriate measures against such actions.
Inspect exhibitions, conduct field surveys, apply for administrative enforcement, instigate civil and criminal litigation to prevent the manufacture of counterfeit products.
Control at borders to prevent the inflow or outflow of counterfeit products.
Regularly monitor e-commerce sites in Japan and overseas and delete pages displaying counterfeit products to prevent such products from reaching our customers.
Example: Counterfeit products infringe BEYBLADE copyrights and design rights
We conducted an on-the-ground fact-finding investigation of imitation BEYBLADE BURST products sold through overseas e-commerce websites and other means and applied for an administrative enforcement of our trademark and design rights.
In recent years, we have seen a particular increase in counterfeit damage on products purchased via e-commerce websites. For that reason, we regularly monitor international e-commerce websites and, if we discover products that infringe intellectual property rights, we promptly request the webmaster to remove those products from the website. We also work closely with e-commerce webmasters in Japan to counteract counterfeit products.
Respecting the Intellectual Property Rights of Other Parties
In order to prevent infringement of the intellectual property rights of other parties, the TOMY Group thoroughly investigates other parties’ patent, trademark and other intellectual property rights as part of our product development process. To ensure we respect the intellectual property rights of others, we hold intellectual property seminars for employees, focusing primarily on training for staff in their fourth or fifth year of employment with us to help foster their ability to detect risks.