Evonik’s portfolio is aligned to the differing business strategies of the various business entities. In view of the strategic importance of R&D, we have raised R&D expenses by an average of 4 percent since 2013. In 2017, R&D expenses totaled €458 million. 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 has an extensive patent strategy to protect new products and processes. The quality of our patent portfolio has increased steadily in recent years. Some 230 new patent applications were filed in the reporting period. Overall, we had around 26,000 patents and pending patents in 2017. Our “patent-driven” sales indicator was 52 percent of consolidated sales (excluding sales from the newly consolidated acquired businesses). Product sales are defined as “patent-driven” if there is at least one relevant patent in force worldwide. In 2017, products and applications introduced in the past five years accounted for 10 percent of Evonik’s consolidated sales. Our innovation pipeline is well stocked. It comprises a balanced mixture: As well as addressing completely new business options, it is geared to securing and enhancing the prospects of existing businesses. Alongside product and process innovations, the focus includes innovative business models and product and process innovations.