When developing the next generation of optical sensors, IFM, a leading company in sensor technology, integrated its innovation and IP management in order to support the strategic goals, to focus more on IP activities and, last but not least, to make sensible portfolio investments.

Sensor technology is a key competence for the implementation of Industry 4.0. Innovative sensors are required to link the real with the digital world. The Smart Factory is a system in which the production facilities and the logistics systems organize themselves as autonomously as possible. For this it is essential that the system components, such as industrial robots, receive and process information about the real world in real time.

This was achieved by developing a precise IP strategy to create legally enforceable USPs for the products and at the same time a pragmatic orientation on feasibility and important aspects. With the help of newly introduced tools, communication in project teams and the orientation towards exclusivity requirements along the customer benefit could be improved. The consequence is that the budget is focused on IP that is economically relevant in the differentiation competition.

The case study from the master’s program for Intellectual Property Law and Management (MIPLM) shows the procedure for developing an IP strategy in a dynamic market environment and for an innovation and product development process that is very complex due to the large number of products and customer requests.



Authors of the case study:

Martin Buck

Managing Director and Chairman IFM





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 Managing Partner at WURZER & KOLLEGEN GmbH, a consulting firm for strategic IP management.

MIPLM Case Study IFM