Day after day, creative minds keep coming up with new ideas – this is certainly the case at ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. It's no wonder that the semiconductor manufacturing segment is a regular customer at the Patent Office. In April the inventive folk at ZEISS, along with creative tinkerers from across all industries, have something to celebrate – because on 26 April every year it's "Intellectual Property Day". Initiated eleven years ago by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), this day shines a spotlight on innovation and creativity. It's goal: to highlight the importance of innovation, to protect inventions and intellectual property, and to provide a platform for new ideas.
For innovators like ZEISS, research and development are vital skills. Because ZEISS develops the products, solutions and technologies of tomorrow. At ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology alone, this is what around 30 percent of the 4,300-strong workforce do every day – making for a significantly higher quota of staff dedicated to research and development than in other comparable high-tech companies. Even in 2020, the ZEISS semiconductor manufacturing segment managed to develop a whole host of new solutions – leading to 213 patent applications, and securing 32nd place among the companies in Germany with the highest number of inventions.
Here in Germany, ZEISS isn't the only company that frequents the Patent Office: in 2020, Germany was ranked second after the USA for the countries with the highest number of patent applications, followed by Japan and China. The European Patent Office recorded 25,954 applications in Germany. In the USA, this number was almost twice as high. Most of the inventions for 2020 were in the fields of medical technology, digital communications and computer technology – in other words, the areas that experienced a boom during the pandemic. Because one thing is clear: a patent application is the best way to protect intellectual property from copycats. No company can afford to invest time and money in research if there is nothing to stop rivals from simply copying their precious ideas.
Head of Intellectual Property