Corporate Obligations and ResponsibilitiesR&D and Intellectual Property at Yahoo Japan Corporation

Yahoo Japan Corporation (“Yahoo! JAPAN”, “Company”) aims to contribute to the development of information technology society. To this end, we promote open innovations through R&D in Yahoo! JAPAN Research, patent applications according to our intellectual property strategy, OSS (Open Source Software) development and others.

R&D and Intellectual Property Strategy at Yahoo Japan Corporation

Supporting the Company’s vision of “UPDATE JAPAN” with leading-edge technologies, Yahoo! JAPAN Research works on the research and development of the next-generation of Internet technologies. In addition, in order to create an environment that constantly produces innovations, we encourage creations through an “Invention Incentive System” to recognize excellent ideas and designs, etc., as well as actively collect and disseminate within and outside the company information related to advanced technologies and business models of the industry and competitors.

At the same time, in order to ensure fair and free competition, we focus on risk evaluation to respect other companies’ intellectual property rights, while constructing and using an intellectual property portfolio around our own patents and others. The outcome of our R&D as well as our intellectual properties are open to external users in the form of OSS, etc. with which we hope to contribute to the development of an IT society.

About Yahoo! JAPAN Research

Given that various devices are used in different everyday life situations, and the collection of a variety of data continues, Yahoo! JAPAN Research’s goal is value creation leading to next problem-solvings by further deepening our understanding of individuals and trends in the world.

Yahoo! JAPAN Research is broadly collaborating with the Company’s service divisions, and several universities and research institutes, in order to achieve maximum results from the valuable environment in which enormous amount of data and feedback from the customers using ourservices every day are collected daily. Yahoo! JAPAN Research also runs an internship program for undergraduate students in anticipation of allowing them to use its resources in broadening their research and development activities.

Yahoo! JAPAN Research also has a policy of actively publishing the results of its research and development activities. We disseminate not only the results of joint research performed with universities, but we also recently started providing information about the results of our collaboration with the development teams on the Company’s services side.

Case in which a research led to a new function in our service

Introduction of a Ranking Model on the Constructiveness of News Comments

We introduced a ranking model for constructive comments in Yahoo! News.

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“Irregular Congestion Prediction” function in “Yahoo! Transit Navigation” app

A research to “predict” an irregular population density based on the location histories from a few days ago resulted in the “Irregular Congestion Prediction” function that predicts an irregular congestion at stations or trains by 10 minutes.

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The only “FIDO 2” certified company in Japan (※): FIDO 2, a standard that makes safe login possible through introduction of authentication method such as biometrics authentication

In October 2018, we adopted “FIDO 2” for which we engaged in the design of technical specifications and reviewed the implementation method. This enabled users of android smartphones to log into the Company’s services in web browsers by using biometric authentication such as fingerprint authentication.

※ as of September 2018

Active communication of research results

Yahoo! JAPAN Research actively presents research results at world-leading international conferences etc. (※)


※ Major conferences in 2018

  • AAAI(Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence): World-leading international conference on artificial intelligence
  • ACL(Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics): One of the world-largest international conferences in the fields of natural language processing and computational linguistics
  • CHI(Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems): Top conference on human-computer interaction (a field that explores designs which enable people to use computers more effectively)
  • The Web Conference (former : WWW Conference) : World-leading conference on Web

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Research papers by Yahoo! JAPAN Research that led to patent acquisitions

We have obtained numerous patents from research papers published by Yahoo! JAPAN Research. Please refer to the following;

Year Title of research paper, name of OSS Classification
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Application of Neural Title Generation as News Editing Assistant (Japanese only) Classification DOMESTIC
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Optimization of Indexing Based on k-Nearest Neighbor Graph for Proximity Search in High-dimensional Data Classification INTERNATIONAL
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Symbiotic Construction of Individual’s Rich Location Dataset Classification INTERNATIONAL
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS FIDO Authentication and Its Technology (Japanese only) Classification DOMESTIC
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Robust ASR against background speech using DNN-mask specializes in wakeup word (Japanese only) Classification DOMESTIC
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Continuous Authentication System Using Online Activities Classification INTERNATIONAL
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Pretraining Sentiment Classifiers with Unlabeled Dialog Data Classification INTERNATIONAL
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Semi-supervised Sentiment Classification with Dialog Data Classification DOMESTIC
2018 Title of research paper, name of OSS Steering through Successive Objects Classification INTERNATIONAL
Papers before 2017 ▼

Yahoo Japan Corporation’s patent portfolio

Using the Patent Score (※), the diagram demonstrates the total strength of each company’s patent asset on the vertical axis evaluated from the quality and quantity of patent assets possessed, and the individual strength of the most valuable patent of each company on the horizontal axis. The sizes of circles represent the number of patents each company has. Yahoo Japan Corporation favorably compares with other world-leading companies in terms of domestic patents on the whole. The Company particularly has a strong position in the field of e-commerce, which is one of its focus areas.

※ Patent Score is an indicator of the degree of attention being paid to each patent. In other words, “a high-profile patent has a high Patent Score,” and “a low-profile patent has a low Patent Score.”
Source: Patent Result Co., Ltd.

Yahoo Japan Corporation’s patent portfolio

E-commerce(ads & e-commerce)

Patent asset ranking

Patent asset ranking is a ranking that comprehensively evaluates each company’s patents in terms of both quality and quantity, using the Patent Score. Yahoo Japan Corporation placed second in the category of patents’ total strength in “Patent Asset Ranking for the Information-communication Industry 2018” published by Patent Result Co., Ltd.
Among the high-profile patents of Yahoo Japan Corporation are “Advertising in navigation systems” “Appropriate placement of strings of letters” and “Optimization of presentation order of search results”.

Top 10 companies in the information-communication industry (source: Patent Result)
Ranking 1 :NTT ,Size of patent asset(pt ):24,969.0, No. of patents:1,212
Ranking 2 :Yahoo JapanCorporation ,Size of patent asset(pt ):20,207.6, No. of patents:351
Ranking 3 :XIAOMI(China) ,Size of patent asset(pt ):10,474.2, No. of patents:233 
Ranking 4 :Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. ,Size of patent asset(pt ):8,789.5, No. of patents:266
Ranking 5 :NTT DOCOMO ,Size of patent asset(pt ):8,782.7, No. of patents:470
Ranking 6 :COLOPL, Inc. ,Size of patent asset(pt ):8,408, No. of patents:136
Ranking 7 :KDDI ,Size of patent asset(pt ):8,008.0, No. of patents:433
Ranking 8 :MICRSOFT ,Size of patent asset(pt ):7,994.4, No. of patents:251
Ranking 9 :GOOGLE ,Size of patent asset(pt ):7,991.0, No. of patents:155
Ranking 10 :Rakuten Inc. ,Size of patent asset(pt ):7,773.4, No. of patents:119
Top 10 companies in the information-communication industry (source: Patent Result)

Transition in the number of domestic patent applications by Yahoo Japan Corporation

The Company started the current Invention Incentives and Award Program in 2014. Ever since, the number of patent applications by the Company is increasing every year. In recent years, Yahoo Japan Corporation promotes the utilization of its multi big data, the Company’s strength.
The Company makes an all-out effort to conduct R&D in the field of data science, which supports utilization of data, as well as to improve services utilizing data. The Company actively makes patent applications in order to protect these research results with patent rights and to capitalize them.

Transition in the number of patent applications by Yahoo Japan Corporation(2012~2018), FY2000:49, FY2012:268, FY2013:249, FY2014:234, FY2015:340, FY2016:445, FY2017:635, FY2018:550

Promoting open innovations

In order to contribute to the development of the information technology society, Yahoo! JAPAN Research’s development results and intellectual properties created in Yahoo Japan Corporation are made available to the public in the form of OSS, etc. Many of them are being utilized in various situations. We believe that encouraging to create a healthy market will also lead to the future development of Yahoo Japan Corporation.

OSS of AI technology that reduces learning time of distributed representation

“Yskip”, an AI/natural language processing technology that reduces the learning time of distributed representation, is made available as an OSS. This technology is used in matching information of users’ interest with articles and advertisements by machine-learning the relationship between various words from a vast amount of text data and automatically estimating the differences in the meanings of words.

OSS developer certification program

This is a program that certifies selected employees as developers for OSS which is strategically adopted by Yahoo Japan Corporation. Time used for developing specific OSS is regarded as work hours and a maximum of JPY 1 million budget per year is granted for the certified employees to work as OSS committers.

NGT(Neighborhood Graph and Tree for Indexing)

NGT is an OSS developed by Yahoo Japan Corporation. This is a software that allows users to quickly search and identify data with multiple characteristics such as text, image, product/user data (high-dimensional data) from a large database. NGT is also used in e-commerce platform “BASE” operated by BASE, Inc.

AnnexML(Approximate Nearest Neighbor Search for Extreme Multi-Label Classification)

AnnexML is an OSS developed by Yahoo Japan Corporation. This is an AI technology that effectively learns combinations of big data such as “information on a user’s service usage”, with hundred thousands of options such as “ads clicked by the user”. At the fastest speed and highest accuracy in the world, this AI technology predicts the most likely combinations such as “which ad will be clicked the most by a user on whom we have information on service use”.