Fujifilm: Innovating a Corporate Makeover
April 12, 2019
April 12, 2019
Fujifilm recently launched a new global brand campaign called ‘Never Stop’ to position itself as a company that has moved beyond its photographic film business into other realms. After the demand for the photographic film saw a drastic downturn in the early 2000s, Fujifilm reinvented its business structure by venturing into different fields such as healthcare, cosmetic products, materials and multifunctional devices and printers.
Fujifilm adopted a new corporate slogan in 2014 – “Value from Innovation” – as a move to spread the message of the company’s shifting business landscape. In Fujifilm’s words, the new campaign also highlighted its commitment to “providing new value through innovative advanced technologies, contributing to the solution of various issues facing society”.
Fujifilm has been continually evolving into a diversified technology company over the recent years.
The innovation in its digital products and services across various industry segments lies at the heart of its growth. We take a look at Fujifilm’s technology and patent assets to see how the company’s IP portfolio has kept pace with its business transformation.
Fujifilm owns a total of 131,262 currently active published patent applications, out of which about 62,000 are applications and 66,000 are granted patents. The filings show a surge in growth post 2015, as seen in Figure 1.
Figure 2 shows that the home jurisdiction of Japan, with a nearly 60% share of the published applications, is the preferred geography for Fujifilm to file in. The US is the second preferred jurisdiction for filings, followed by China.
Survival through Diversification
The company that began in 1934 as a photo-film business ruled the Japanese market for nearly a decade. Fujifilm has been flexible and quick to adapt to the market shifts. It started providing digital X-ray systems to hospitals in the early 1980s, when the digital revolution was in its nascent stages. Since then, Fujifilm has been constantly innovating and acquiring companies to diversify its business. The company’s current technology assets also address the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and healthcare sectors.
Over the years, Fujifilm has built a library of over 2 million chemical compounds and is now employing them in its pharmaceutical and cosmetic compositions. The application of chemistry across different sectors proved to be a strategic and profitable move for the company. This shift is also evident in its patent filings.
As seen in Figure 3, the technologies covered by the CPC codes like B41C 2210/24 (Polymer binder for forme), B41C 2210/22 (Organic non-polymer additive for forme), B41C 1/1016 (Imaging layers), B41C 2210/04 (Removal of non-exposed areas of a forme), B41C 2201/14 (Binder or adhesives for forme) displayed an increased year-on-year growth till around 2008, but their growth has tapered off in recent years.
The technologies covered by the CPC code H04N 2201/0094 (Multifunctional device) show the highest year-on-year growth post 2014. Also, the technologies such as ‘Hardware or software aspects of TV signals’ and ‘Photolithographic production of textured or patterned surface for images’ possess the maximum number of high value patents in Fujifilm’s portfolio.
Fujifilm calls its business restructuring as the “Second Foundation” which has been built upon innovative products and business diversification. Read our report to get more insights into the company’s patent assets and value creation through innovation.
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