R&D expenditure of 4.5 billion euros Bosch ranks first in Europe with 838 patents in 2012 Innovations include snap electrodes for clean exhaust

  • Patents protect ideas and secure revenue
Add to my press materials
Save text
  • March 06, 2013
  • Business/economy
  • Press releases
  • Images: 1

press release

Stuttgart/Munich/Brussels – The European Patent Office in Brussels announced on Wednesday that Bosch was ranked first for patents in Europe in 2012, with 838 patents granted to the company over the course of the year. The company currently holds a portfolio of more than 90,000 active industrial property rights. In total, Bosch filed more than 4,700 patents in 2012. The European Patent Office regulates the granting of property rights in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organization (EPOrg).

Bosch spends more than 8 percent of its sales on research and development, with R&D expenditure reaching 4.5 billion euros in 2012. More than 42,000 associates work in R&D worldwide, 20,700 of them in Germany. Patents protect the company’s innovations from being imitated, while licensing allows third parties to benefit from Bosch’s technological edge.

From patent to product: a long and winding road
Not every good idea leads to a patent, and not all patents go on to become products. The process is generally a long one. “One example is the snap electrode, which is part of our particulate filter for the clean combustion of biomass in the wood-burning stoves of private households,” says Dietmar Steiner, one of the inventors at Bosch.

High-voltage dust-catcher
While heating with renewable materials such as briquettes or wood pellets is carbon-neutral, the exhaust gas contains unwanted particulate matter. However, it can be removed by means of a particle separator. Steiner, a physicist in the research department in Schwieberdingen close to Stuttgart, explains how this works: a strong electric field is created in the exhaust pipe, as a result of which free charge carriers attach themselves to the dust. An electrode then attracts the charged dust particles, which stick to it.

Longer maintenance cycles thanks to snap electrodes
At some point, the electrode is so covered in dust that it has to be cleaned. Steiner and his project team first began to devise solutions in 2006. The dusty electrode can be briefly shaken by a bimetal element that folds over (“snaps”) as the stove heats up. As a result, the dust is shaken off the electrode into the stove’s ash pan.

“Our aim was to have a filter that required maintenance only twice a year, and we have achieved this,” Steiner says. The filter prevents more than 85 percent of particulate matter from being emitted. By using mass-produced parts that Bosch is able to manufacture in large numbers and to high quality standards, costs were significantly reduced. Lower limits on particulate matter will take effect in Germany from 2015. The new filter will make it possible to comply with them.

The first prototypes were built in 2006, and a patent was filed in 2008. In 2010, the snap electrode patent was published. It was then legally granted in 2011. A number of other companies in the heating industry have expressed interest in the technology, and licensing negotiations are currently underway.

Background information on patent statistics:
The statistics include all patents granted between January 1 and
December 31, 2012.

- For more information on the European Patent Organization
- For more information on patents at Bosch:
- Directive for small and medium-sized wood-burning stoves

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at and,

PI8064 - March 06, 2013

Your contact person for journalists

Thilo Resenhoeft

+49 711 811-7088 Send Email

Share this information