How does EADS, the global aerospace Group that manufactures the Airbus, encourage innovation among its researchers? What it does, works. As summarized in 2010 Intelligence Report & Directory Series of Leaders League at 67, EADS had 7,200 patents in its 2009 portfolio, “of which 1,100 were first registered in 2008. [Aha, a benchmark metric of recent patent grants as a percentage of all active patent records!]
To prime researchers toward patentable discoveries, EADS gives the Airbus Award of Excellence every year to the company’s most promising researcher. It seems volume is not the measure but potential. Second, there is a bi-annual ceremony called the Airbus Hall of Fame. Each company within the Group nominates its best researcher and they receive prizes. Third, the company remunerates employee’s inventions, “giving them a fixed sum of between €300 and €50,000, and another which varies according to the value of the innovation.” In all this the IP lawyers of the company play a role.