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NEC to boost intellectual property sales

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CIOL Bureau
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TOKYO: Japanese chip and electronics giant NEC Corp said on Tuesday it would

expand its sales of proprietary technology and patents, aiming for annual sales

of 50 billion yen ($375.1 million) within three years.

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Japan's second largest chipmaker said it planned to market its 68,509 patents

-- the most held by a Japanese firm -- as a way to boost patent-related revenues

from about 10 billion yen a year.

Japan's chipmakers, forced by harsh competition to shut plants, cut jobs and

exit the memory chip market they once ruled, are going cold on

mass-manufacturing and are seeking new ways to profit from their top-notch

technology, including milking maximum value from their patents.

NEC, which is also Japan's largest PC supplier, set up a 75 member department

on Monday to oversee its intellectual property assets -- mostly in fields like

semiconductors and telecommunications -- and negotiate with outside firms.

"We plan to sell either the patent rights themselves, or collect licensing

fees from companies that want to use the patents," a company spokesman

said.

NEC has trailed only International Business Machines Corp in the number of

registered patents in the United States since 1999. But its current annual

patent licensing income ranks well below IBM's, which totaled about $736 million

in 2001, down from $915 million the previous year.

NEC has forecast a group net loss of 300 billion yen for the year ended March

31.

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