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No. 366, March 2000

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American Companies in Japan


TEXTILES AND APPAREL

Sooner than anticipated, OUTLAST TECHNOLOGIES, INC. arranged to have foam material based on its temperature-regulating technology manufactured in Japan. The Boulder, Colorado developer and marketer gave major foam producer INOAC CORP. exclusive rights for that application. More commonly, OUTLAST technology, which, when applied to material, absorbs, stores and releases heat as necessary, is incorporated in fibers and fabrics for outerwear, work clothing, footwear and the like. At the end of 1999, Outlast Technologies gave ITOCHU CORP. sole rights to import and distribute OUTLAST fibers, fabrics and foam (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 364, January 2000, p. 32).

The company that bills itself as the owner of the number-one brand of so-called dynamic climate control materials also thinks that Japan is fertile ground for its technology. FRISBY TECHNOLOGIES, INC. signed a product development and test-marketing agreement with BRIDGESTONE CORP. covering its ComforTemp DCC technology. On successful completion of a six-month trial period, the big tire manufacturer, which also is a leading maker of foam materials for consumer goods products as well as for automotive applications, will have exclusive rights to produce, distribute and sell ComforTemp materials for home furnishing products marketed in Japan. Elsewhere in Asia, Bridgestone will have nonexclusive rights to deliver materials for this end use incorporating Frisby Technologies' know-how. The pending license with the Winston-Salem, North Carolina company also will allow Bridgestone to supply ComforTemp materials to Japan's automotive industry for products sold worldwide.

TIMBERLAND CO., the marketer of a premium but popular line of footwear, apparel and accessories geared toward the outdoors, reacquired distribution rights to its products in Japan and other Asian countries from INCHCAPE PLC. The Stratham, New Hampshire company immediately formed a subsidiary in Japan to manage marketing of its line there. Inchcape took over distribution of Timberland products from another company in 1995.

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