What is it that actually makes a company valuable? If you asked an investment banker, he would probably point you in the direction of market capitalization. If you ask a recruitment consultant, the answer would be, without any doubt: the employees. Of course both of them are right – but each of these factors also only represents one element of what determines the success of a company. Of at least equal importance is the "DNA" of an organization – all the patents, brands, designs and domains that convey an image to the outside world and are the guarantors of technical progress. Protecting this DNA is therefore one of the most important responsibilities of a company. We, the team at Mercedes-Benz IP, are the ones who shoulder this responsibility on behalf of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, its independent divisional entities and subsidiaries.
Just one example of our work: time and time again we come across illegal Mercedes-Benz counterfeits on the internet, offered for sale to unsuspecting customers by product pirates. This situation can be particularly dangerous when safety-relevant parts are involved, such as counterfeit brake disks. The inferior quality of such counterfeits could endanger the life of our customers. One of the key areas of our work is therefore the tracking down of bogus safety-relevant replacement and service parts.
Working closely with our inventors, we ensure that their innovations result in industrial property rights (IPR) for our products. Together with the specialist departments, we investigate whether the IPR held by third parties could hamper our own plans. If necessary we will apply to license rights from third parties and – where this makes sense – will also issue licenses ourselves. We check offers from external patent holders for suitability for use within our Group. Where cooperations with suppliers or other OEMs are concerned, we ensure the correct legal framework from an IP standpoint. In short: We smooth the way to securing the freedom to operate, along with exclusivity.