Canon is one of the leading manufacturers of cameras, camcorders, printers and optical products. The company was originally named Seikikogaku Kenkyasho which translates to precision optical industry. Since the launch of its first camera in 1934, Canon has become a household name for its range of cameras, printers and camcorders.
The company’s ground-breaking innovations have established it as a technology leader. Canon is also a prolific patent filer and was ranked third for the number of U.S. patents awarded in 2018, “becoming the only company in the world to have ranked in the top five for 33 years”.
An interesting aside – On World Photography Day on 19 August 2019, Canon India launched the second version of its digital campaign #ShiftYourFocus. Using social media, Canon endeavours to bring the real-life social and environmental challenges to the forefront through this campaign. In this report, we present technology trends and insights into Canon’s patent assets.
Canon owns a patent portfolio of around 198,000 patents and patent applications that are in force. Figure 1 shows that there is a steady upward trend in the year-wise number of published applications from 2005 onwards. This trend exhibits an enhanced growth post 2010.
The home jurisdiction of Japan is the favoured filing destination for Canon accounting for more than half of its published applications, as seen in Figure 2. The other significant jurisdictions where Canon has sought patent coverage includes the US, China and the European Patent Office.
As a part of a strategic transformation, Canon is focusing on expanding existing operations and building future businesses. The company’s existing product lines include cameras, laser printers, inkjet printers, multifunctional devices and lithography equipment. The new businesses include commercial printing, healthcare, network cameras and industrial equipment.
Canon is strengthening its innovation and R&D activities to attain its business objectives. In 2018, R&D expenses amounted to ¥315.8 billion, and the ratio of R&D expenses to net sales was 8.0%. This substantial annual investment in R&D has maintained the company’s global ranking as an aggressive patent filer. It continues to be the top ranked Japanese company for a fourteenth consecutive year in 2018, in terms of patents filed at the U.S. patent office.
The main technology areas addressed by Canon’s patent portfolio include still picture apparatus used for multiple functions, focusing based on image signals and remote printer technologies. Figure 3 provides the evolution of various technology categories addressed by Canon’s patent portfolio, over the last twenty years.
Using Relecura’s proprietary patent value metric, we determine the high value patents in Canon’s portfolio. Canon’s high-quality patents cover technology areas such as hardware or software aspects of TV signals, apparatus for electrographic process, storage or transmission aspects of camera and reading or recognizing printed or written characters. The Relecura Star rating ranks each patent on a scale of five. It is a proprietary composite metric incorporating multiple criteria. The metric combines the different technology, business, and litigation related factors. Generally, a patent that scores three or more out of five in terms of the Star Rating, is deemed as a “high value” patent.
Read our patent portfolio report to get analytics and trends related to Canon’s patent assets. Some of the fastest growing segments within Canon’s portfolio include technologies related to image analysis, wireless communication, TV systems and camera accessories. The report also includes a detailed side-by-side comparison of Canon’s portfolio against those of its competitors, across different technology categories.
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Relecura’s forte is its flexibility and adaptability to address specific problems and close-fitting solutions. The basic problem is that innovators are often not able to identify the industrial and commercial significance of their innovation as due diligence takes long days of analyses, necessitating a deviation from their regular and familiar activities. And it is a tedious iteration process. The latest custom AI capabilities help you assess the commercial value of innovation and technical due diligence can be automated to yield meaningful and immediate results. The repetitive tasks could be automated, and your time and energy could be devoted to strategic missions.
Management of large Innovation data is costly and labor intensive. Relecura offers AI-powered classification tools for categorizing and organizing data automatically and instantly. Automated Categorization against suitably chosen training documents keeps your innovation portfolio updated and lucidly classified, amenable to instant analyses.
Relecura offers fully automated custom AI solutions to track and explore developments in different technology areas. You can stay updated on the latest developments in different companies and technologies of your interest, which facilitates intelligent decision-making.
Competitive intelligence is a prerequisite for strategic decision making. Relecura provides tools to track the innovation and publication dynamics of your competitors, based on which you can prioritize your innovation initiatives and thus hone up your competitive edge.
Relecura uses white space analysis within its product platform known as the TechTracker, an AI-powered tool that provides insights on various technological trends and offers a peep into your competitor’s patent arsenal. Additionally, it helps you keep track of emerging organizations and technologies to help you manage your budgets and investments, optimally.
“Relecura helps us remain innovative by allowing us to see where the competition is playing through the landscaping tools. It lets us see where there are new opportunities and helps us focus in on those areas in an intelligent way.”
“Relecura helps us ride the crest of innovation wave keeping a competitive edge.” It helps us identify the white spaces and where the opportunities are.”
‘Our policy decisions regarding the focus areas of research and investment are being taken based on the insights offered by the custom AI tool, TechTracker, which offers a clear picture about the emerging technologies, companies, and the white spaces on the technology landscape of the key players. This helps us optimize resource utilization and maximize returns,’
‘The Classifier tool, introduced by Relecura, is indeed useful in managing and updating large datasets. After having subscribed to that AI-powered tool, in-house big data management and analyses have become easier and hassle-free.”
“Relecura platform is fueled by the latest technologies, and the tools that the platform hosts make our in-house innovation management smooth and accurate, in addition to being synchronized with the global technology frontline.”
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