Europe’s market leader in agricultural engineering, the company Claas from Harsewinkel, has successfully faced the change in agricultural machinery technology. With sales of 3.8 billion €, Claas is one of the leading companies in their industry and is now on the market with the most sophisticated agricultural information technology. Through new business models and the integration of IP management, Claas has been able to gain a foothold in the field of digital farming and to prevail against the international competition.


The case study from the master program Intellectual Property Law and Management (MIPLM) describes the change in agricultural machinery, away from larger and larger machines to digital solutions, to help farmers around the world to increase their efficiency. To advance the digitization of business models, Claas has not only built competencies in key enabling technologies such as electronics, software and telematics, but also changed its own IP-work from a reactive, R & D and inventions-oriented approach to an active IP-strategy aligned with the protection of new business models. The enormous economic success of Claas shows that this strategic approach is effective in the global competition.

Authors of the case study:

Prof. Dr. Alexander J. Wurzer

Dr. Wurzer is Professor for IP Management at the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (Centre d’Etudes Internationales de la Propriété Industrielle, CEIPI) at the University of Strasbourg, where he has been programme leader for the Master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law and Management (MIPLM) since 2007. He is Director of the Steinbeis Transfer Institute for Intellectual Property Management at Steinbeis University Berlin and Managing Partner at WURZER & KOLLEGEN GmbH, a consulting firm for strategic IP management.

Prof. Dr. Wurzer is Chairman of the DIN committee for the standardization of patent valuation (DIN 77100). He chairs the Board of Directors of “Deutsches Institut für Erfindungswesen e.V.” (D.I.E.), is Spokesman of the Board of Trustees of the Diesel Medal Awards, Fellow at the Alta Scuola Politecnica at Milan/Turin Polytechnic and Conference Chairman of IP Service World. He is also a member of the group of experts on “IP Valuation” of the European Commission and an internationally recognized expert for IP valuation, especially for FRAND topics and licensing transactions.

Thomas Böck, Managing Director Technology and Systems at CLAAS Group

Thomas Böck, born in 1971, has an engineering degree from a university of applied sciences with a specialization in general electrical engineering. His postgraduate career began as a developer of electronic/electrical and electronic/hydraulic vehicle systems. Within the scope of his roles with renowned manufacturers of agricultural machinery and commercial vehicles between 1996 and 06/2006, he was responsible for developing and testing electronic and hydraulic vehicle systems and commercial vehicles. Thomas Böck joined the CLAAS Group in 2006. As Head of System Technology, he was responsible for electronics development incl. pre-development, engines, hydraulics, mechanical drive technologies, and cabs for harvesters, self-propelled shredders, and systems vehicles. From 2011 to 2012, Thomas Böck was Head of Technology for R&D, Production and Logistics at CLAAS Saulgau GmbH. In October 2012, he was appointed Managing Director Technology of CLAAS Saulgau GmbH.

Dr. Steffen Budach, Head of the IP Department at CLAAS Group

Steffen Budach, born in 1963, has an engineering degree with a specialization in general mechanical engineering. His postgraduate career began as Patent Consultant at CLAAS Saulgau GmbH. In 2001, he became responsible for the entire IP function at CLAAS Group. Dr. Steffen Budach is a German and European Patent Attorney.

Download MIPLM Case Study Claas