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Old 05-26-2004, 05:45   #1 (permalink)
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Japan:Mazda to pay workers more for inventions

Mazda to pay workers more for inventions

The Japan Times

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) Mazda Motor Corp. has scrapped its 1 million yen ceiling on rewards for employees' inventions to enhance morale, company officials said Tuesday.
The Fuchu, Hiroshima Prefecture-based automaker revised the financial incentives plan in April for the first time in 13 years.

The reward will now be paid in proportion to an employee's contribution to the breakthrough, they said.

It will retain ownership of patents on employees' inventions. Mazda files about 1,000 patent applications annually.

"The new system is intended to better pay back employees for hard work," a Mazda spokesman said. "The rewards may go up as high as several dozen million yen, and we expect the new system will help prevent an exodus of excellent human resources."

The move comes amid rising awareness of patent ownership in Japan, with an increasing number of engineers suing their former employers over compensation for what the companies have earned from their inventions.

In January, the Tokyo District Court ordered chemical company Nichia Corp. to pay 20 billion yen to the developer of a key semiconductor device. The district court also ordered seasoning maker Ajinomoto Co. in February to pay 189.35 million yen to a former employee who produced a method for making an artificial sweetener.

Earlier this year, pharmaceutical maker Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd. raised its annual budget for invention rewards 20 times from last year to 200 million yen.
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