The first court hearing with Nakashima Precision leaves Tsukuda feeling uneasy. Unlike Okawa, Tanabe is not accustomed to intellectual property lawsuits and is clearly out of his league. He informs the presiding judge that Tsukuda Industries intends to refute Nakashima Precision’s claim, but he is not certain how long it will take to verify the documents to support their case. Tsukuda, Tonomura and Ryoko visibly cringe at this remark while Mita smirks in his seat.
The next hearing is scheduled a month later and with Nakashima Precision prepared to make it a long-drawn-out battle, it is feared that the trial could drag on for more than a year – something that Tsukuda Industries can ill afford.
Meanwhile, Tsukuda Industries’ contracts with major clients are gradually terminated because of the impact of the trial as well as rumours that the company will only be able to continue operations for a year. This fuels a sense of panic among its employees.
To compound matters, Tanabe just wants an easily digestible summary of the issue in dispute rather than make an attempt to gain a thorough understanding of the technical jargon used by Okawa in Nakashima Precision’s court claim. When Tsukuda tells him that they have to find a way to win the case before the company runs out of funds in ten months, Tanabe is exasperatingly dismissive. In frustration, Tonomura pointedly informs Tanabe that they would like to choose another lawyer for the case because they have no time to spare.
Tanabe is relieved of his position, but Tsukuda Industries cannot find a lawyer to represent them. No one will accept the case once they hear that the plantiff is Nakashima Precision.
At that moment, Ryoko visits a bewildered Tsukuda to promote her legal services. Disclosing her familiarity with Okawa’s methods because she had worked under him until three years ago, she explains that the scope of the patents filed by Tsukuda Industries were too broad. This left room for Nakashima Precision to exploit by applying for patents of different shapes and materials. Only then does Tsukuda realise the lapse.
During Ryoko’s next meeting with Tsukuda, she points out that Nakashima Precision’s aim is to drive Tsukuda Industries into a corner, force it to give up a majority stake in settlement of the 9 billion yen and take away the technologies it has developed. However, she has hit on an idea after studying the documents on his company’s technologies. Countersue Nakashima Precision for infringing the patent for its engine cylinder! “This is a battle with Okawa’s law firm for me. I cannot let them get away with their deeds. Please find some way to hold out,” she tells Tsukuda and offers to search for financial institutions willing to back Tsukuda Industries based on the technologies it possesses.
Before long, Mita, who had gleefully predicted Tsukuda Industries’ demise before the end of the trial even with Ryoko’s appointment, is reduced to panic when he receives a court claim from the company. Okawa acknowledges that it does not look good for Nakashima Precision. He personally hates Ryoko and is determined to win the case. She has a shortcoming that he plans to take advantage of … …
On the other hand, Zaizen has been agonising over Tsukuda Industries’ patent for the same technology used in the development of Teikoku Heavy Industries’ engine valve system. Teikoku Heavy Industries’ space rocket cannot be launched without that component, but using it would result in a patent infringement. Zaizen’s superior, Mizuhara Shigeharu, the vice president of the Aerospace Systems Division, takes him to task for being overtaken by Tsukuda Industries in obtaining the patent for the engine valve system. His subordinate, Tomiyama appears to be the one who tattled on him.
Zaizen learns that it will take a year to develop a new engine valve system. Faced with the prospect of a long delay to the Stardust Programme, he decides that they have no choice but to go against the president’s policy of in-house components for their space rocket. Their only option now is to acquire Tsukuda Industries’ patent for the engine valve system. Mita had offered to sell the patent once Nakashima Precision takes over Tsukuda Industries’ but Zaizen does not trust him. And so, he personally calls on Tsukuda.
At the meeting with Tsukuda, Zaizen goes right to the point and asks if Tsukuda Industries can turn over the patent to Teikoku Heavy Industries at a reasonable price. Tsukuda is not sure how to react to this sudden offer. “It wasn’t developed so that it could be sold to other companies,” he hesitantly responds. When Zaizen implores Tsukuda to let the technology be used in the space rocket’s engine, he counters with the offer of an exclusive license. But Zaizen flatly rejects because he needs to have control of the rights for key components. “How does 2 billion yen sound?” Tsukuda’s eyes widen in surprise.
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