Japan’s Panasonic has granted access to its patented technology to Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) in a bid to help Bruneian startups develop innovative products.

The two universities today signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) with the Japanese electronics giant to explore the possibilities of using Panasonic’s technology and expertise for research and development.

Yoshiaki Tokuda, the Director of Panasonic Corporation’s Intellectual Property (IP) Center, said the collaboration between the IP of large tech corporations, scientific institutions and startups has been a “proven innovation ecosystem model” in Japan, and that Panasonic is now keen to replicate this in Southeast Asia.

Tokuda said that Brunei is the second ASEAN country to sign up for Panasonic’s IP Portfolio after Singapore, which have gone on to develop a commercial fish farming system using Panasonic’s sensing technology.

“Panasonic is a major supplier of IP with over 180,000 granted patents and 690,000 patent applications. Now we want to open access of these portfolios to Brunei organisations which can be used to develop innovative products especially in tech, healthcare and agriculture,” said Tokuda.

The director said that Panasonic is flexible with its IP licensing fees. “It would be based on sales, royalties and there is also possibility of the exchange of startup shares or joint investment,” he added.

Aside from licensing IP, Panasonic has an extensive ‘IP Monetization Programme’ that allows for the use of their subsidiaries’ manufacturing facilities at subsidised rates to produce new products.

The Faculty of Integrated Technologies in UBD.

The signing marks a major milestone for UBD as it links the university with one of the major industry players in technology as well as research and development. 

UBD’s Assistant Vice-Chancellor Pg Dr Mohammad Iskandar Pg Hj Petra said the SOI follows UBD’s engagement with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to identify patents that could be developed into new, commercialised products by both students and academics in collaboration with local companies.

“We will explore the possibilities to develop prototypes in collaboration with potential or existing startups with IP and technical support from Panasonic,” the Assistant Vice-Chancellor said, adding that this would result in shortened research and development cycles, thus speeding up commercialisation efforts.

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