In terms of external appearances, the offices of Beat Weibel and his team don't look very different from those of the Finance Department. The work done in them is similar too, because his team also deals with company assets. But Weibel’s experts are not concerned with financial assets, holdings in companies, real estate, buildings or machines. Instead, their business is intellectual property (IP). Weibel manages a staff of more than 400 at Germany’s largest corporate intellectual property rights department. Capitalizing on technological innovations isn't a trivial matter. Protecting them is expensive, and to do so companies need a sound patent strategy.
In fiscal 2016, Siemens employees reported 7,513 inventions within the company itself, and Beat Weibel's team submitted approximately 3,500 initial patent applications. Based on 220 working days in a year, this represents about 34 inventions and 16 initial patent applications per day. Overall, the Siemens Group now holds approximately 59,750 patents. Compared to ten years ago, the Group receives twice as many reports of inventions, on average, from each of the employees in Research and Development — in large part because of the excellent level of cooperation between patent attorneys and inventors.