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Innovative ideas lead to trend-setting technologies.
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Evonik has an extensive patent strategy to protect new products and processes. The value and quality of our patent portfolio have increased steadily in recent years. Some 230 new patent applications were filed in the reporting period. In 2016 we had more than 24,500 patents and pending patents. Our new indicator, “patent-driven sales”, which we introduced in 2016, comprised 56 percent of Evonik’s consolidated sales. Product sales are defined as “patent-driven” if there is at least one relevant pending patent application or patent in force worldwide. In 2016, products and applications introduced in the past five years accounted for 10 percent of Evonik’s consolidated sales.Our innovation pipeline is well stocked. In 2016 it comprised a balanced mixture of well over 500 projects addressing completely new business options as well as securing or enhancing the prospects of existing businesses. Alongside product and process innovations, the focus includes innovative business models and product and process innovations. Our portfolio is aligned to the differing business strategies of the various business entities. In 2016 we fine-tuned the nature and scope of our innovation projects as part of the realignment of our innovation portfolio. Since then, greater priority has been given to larger mid- and long-term projects.In view of the strategic importance of R&D, we have raised R&D expenses by an average of 3.7 percent since 2011. In 2016, R&D expenses totaled € 438 million. In view of our growth strategy, we aim to retain this ambitious level, and to invest more than € 4 billion in R&D up to 2025. Our R&D projects are managed using the multi-step Idea-to-Profit process developed by Evonik to support the systematic development of projects right up to profitable commercialization.Evonik’s global R&D network comprises 35 locations with approximately 2,700 R&D employees. In the past three years, Evonik has also spent € 158 million on the construction of laboratory capacity and pilot plants. Examples are the competence center for silanes at the Rheinfelden site in Germany, which was opened in 2016, and the new composites pilot plant for the Crosslinkers Business Line in Marl (Germany). Acquisition of the Air Products specialty additives business will strengthen Evonik’s innovative capacity internationally, particularly in the area of specialty additives. Analogously to Evonik, even before the acquisition, Air Products’ business model was characterized by close collaboration with customers in R&D. This provides an excellent boost for Evonik’s innovation work as well as its business activities.
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