CLAAS is a family business founded in 1913. The company, with corporate headquarters in Harsewinkel, Westphalia, is the European market leader in combined harvesters. CLAAS is also a top performer in world-wide agricultural engineering with tractors, agricultural balers and green harvesting machinery that help to serve the rising demand for food. The product portfolio of the company also includes sophisticated agricultural information technology. The original meaning of the company was a traditional manufacturing company with premium quality and it changed to a digital service provider in smart farming.

The industry case study CLAAS – Digital Revolution in Agriculture 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 digitalization of business models, the company has not only built competencies in key enabling technologies such as electronics, software and telematics, but also changed its own IP-work from an R&D and inventions-oriented approach to an active IP-strategy aligned with the protection of new business models.

In the past there was for the agricultural data, which has been collected across a mixed machinery fleet, no practicable way to share the valuable information across different brands. With the introduction of DataConnect – the first direct industry-wide and manufacturer-independent cloud-to-cloud solution, farmers are now be able to securely exchange data in real time through a common interface. In addition, the farmer is able to control and monitor his entire fleet with his telematics platform of choice without having to switch portals or manually transfer data from one system to another allowing the secure viewing and handling of these basic machine data elements, including current and historical machine location, current fuel tank level, working status and forward speed.

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The evolution of digital business models always follows the same digital patterns, also in Agriculture 4.0. With the understanding and application of the digital logics underlying these patterns, digital business models can be developed and enhanced. For the protection of the new business models digital patents may be used.

The tasks for the MIPLM students are:

1 . Describe the original meaning of the company and the products from the customer perspective.

2 . Describe a new meaning for the customer.

3 . Search for three patents which protect the new meaning and describe the role of the patents.

The answers were presented by:

Andrea Foglia, Johannes Holzmair, Maria Boicova-Wynants, Rita Labundy, Véronique Bolinches, Sinara Travisani Cardozo, Andreas Werner, Anders Isaksson

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Thanks to Centre d’Etudes Internationales de la Propriété Intellectuelle – CEIPI. If you want to learn more: Follow us at IP Business Academy