FESTO is a German multinational industrial control and automation company based in Esslingen, Germany. Festo is an engineering-driven company that offers products, systems and services surrounding pneumatic and electrical control and drive technology, whether in the factory or process automation sector. In the everyday factory environment, automation technology takes over typical tasks such as gripping, moving and positioning parts, modules or complete products.

Festo is an internationally operating family-owned company in its third generation, which covers its financial needs by its own means. Because of that, the company is not bound by the capital market, but solely to the customers, employees and business partners. This enables to plan over the long term even in dynamic markets and to do business in a sustainable manner. Festo has a turnover of around 3,1 billion € and more than 20 thousand employees. Sales subsidiaries, distribution center and factories are in 61 countries worldwide.

Festo has a holistic view of the changes in the production world, considers different perspectives and – in addition to technology – also takes other key points into account, such as the interaction between man and machine as well as the issue of training and qualification.

The real and the virtual world are growing together. Modern information and communication technologies are merging with industrial processes and are thus increasingly changing the production landscape. Industry 4.0 brings together various activities under one term and thus describes the change that is imposing new requirements on production systems, machines and people in many areas.

As an innovation leader, for many years Festo has been providing impetus for factory automation and offers a wide product and service portfolio – from individual components to complex customized solutions and systems. In the production of the future, there will be digital depictions of production plants and whole factories. Computers will thus take CAD data from production lines, production data and energy flows to form an overall picture, which can be used for planning new processes and work flows, but also for the virtual start-up of facilities.

These developments have many consequences for IP management in a company like Festo. Here is the Dinner Speech from Mrs. Kerstin Single, Head of IP Management at Festo AG & Co. KG. Specialized in employee invention law, IP management, further development of internal data processing and administration. Mrs. Single is a graduate engineer in mechanical engineering and made her first experience in the watch making industry. Since 1987 she’s been working as a patent engineer. In the 1990s she worked at Siemens-Nixdorf Paderborn as an IP expert. Since 2007 she is head of IP management at Festo.

In her Dinner Speech at MIPLM 2018-2019 program on 18th February in Strasbourg, Mrs. Single focussed on the challenges of IP management in a medium sized family owned company – especially the opportunity and risk structure in the IoT environment and in an era of internationalization.

Festo has a huge spectrum of products and solution for its more than 300.000 customers in over 35 industries in 176 countries. It was founded in 1925 and spent around 8% of its turnover for R&D ever year. Festo holds around 33.000 catalogue products in several hundred thousand variants active for its customers. Festo creates approximately 15.000 customer solutions per year within the fields of pneumatic, servo-pneumatic and electric automation technology.


Interview with Mrs Single, head of IP management at Festo.