Developer of flash memory sets world record for patents

Kyodo

A 62-year-old company president who developed the basic mechanism of flash memory has been inducted into the Guinness Book of Records by registering more patents than legendary master inventor Thomas Edison.

The Guinness Book said Shumpei Yamazaki, president of Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, has registered 3,245 patents, compared with Edison’s 2,332.

“Many of my inventions were the result of teamwork,” Yamazaki said, adding that he wants to continue supporting young people.

While studying at Doshisha University’s graduate school, Yamazaki focused his research on semiconductors and registered 34 patents, including one on the basic mechanism of flash memory.

He established his laboratory in 1980 with money he earned through the patents and continued to register more inventions in Japan and the United States, including a thin-film transistor.

Though he says he has few “home runs,” flash memory, used in digital cameras and cell phones, has created a more than 1 trillion yen industry.

Yamazaki contacted the Guinness Book of Records in January after finding out that he had topped Edison’s record last fall.

He says what counts most in patents is how to turn technology into business.

“Japan’s economic growth depends on science and technology,” he said. “I want to continue to make contributions together with young people.”