With our Group-wide “Idea Generation Management” we encourage our employees to send us their suggestions and ideas for continued improvement at Deutsche Telekom. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, fewer employees took part in 2020 than in the previous year: Participation was lower, at 4,574 submissions, but the quality of the ideas was higher. The economic benefit amounted to 69.2 million euros in the form of savings or new business potential.
Deutsche Telekom took second place in the “Occupational health and safety” category of the German Ideas Management Award presented by the German Institute for Ideas and Innovation Management in 2020. The winning idea, to modify heavy-duty rails before they are installed, came from Andreas Thomas (Customized Hardware Service Individuell) and his colleagues. The idea generates a value of 400,000 euros.
By the end of 2020, we owned around 8,800 intellectual property rights (IPRs). We take a targeted approach to managing these IPRs in consideration of cost-benefit aspects. We regularly take stock of our IPRs and eliminate those that are no longer relevant.
Patents are gaining more and more significance in the telecommunications industry. Market players and their areas of activity are changing, with a knock-on effect on our IPR (intellectual property rights) agenda. On the one hand, our Group's scope for action must be maintained. On the other hand and alongside our own research and development activities, we want to pave the way to open innovation through collaboration projects and partnerships. National and international IPRs are vital for these types of activity. We are strongly dedicated to generating our own property rights. Industrial property rights include inventions, patent applications, patents, utility models and design patents.
Thanks to our intense efforts to develop and structure our IPR portfolio, the rights we hold are highly valuable and firmly in line with our Group's strategic objectives. We have put in place a professional patent law management process to keep our IPR assets safe. Additionally, we are represented on various standardization bodies in our industry. We manage our IPRs on the basis of cost/benefit aspects, filing only selected applications and de-registering patents systematically.Reporting against standards