Safran No. 3 in patent filings according to INPI rankings

The French National Institute for Intellectual Property 's annual ranking of companies filing for the most patents in France provides a clear benchmark for innovation. With 556 patent applications filed in 2012, Safran is ranked third in France, behind only PSA Peugeot Citroën and the French atomic energy commission CEA (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique). We asked Hervé Devred, Safran Vice President for Intellectual Property, to share his insights.

Safran has maintained its "Top 3" ranking for the number of patents filed in France; what does this mean for the Group?

This ranking clearly indicates the Group's creativity, our ability to innovate and protect our knowledge. Safran retains its spot as the top-ranked aerospace company (EADS is 7th, General Electric 10th and Thales 11th), which is both a reason to be proud, and also an effective vector to increase our recognition, especially among our target publics of students and young engineers. That's an especially important point for Safran which once again has massive recruiting needs this year (we hired 7,500 new employees in 2012, and plan to hire just as many this year). Finishing on the "patent podium" makes us a more attractive enterprise. It's true that we slipped down a notch compared with last year, but we also filed more patents! At the same time, we continued to anchor our spot among the leaders, and that's what's most important.

This ranking clearly indicates a growing innovation dynamic within Safran. What are our quantitative targets for patent filings?

The primary reason for filing patents is obviously to protect our proprietary innovations, those that give a unique advantage to our customers. More generally, it gives us effective design spaces and specific knowledge that allows us to say ahead of our competitors, who may have the same goal.

Innovation is of course a major strategic objective for Safran. But it is not an end in and of itself. Our innovations must above all meet customer requirements. In the aerospace industry, innovation is absolutely essential if aircraft manufacturers are to meet environmental challenges while reducing costs. For the security sector, new technologies will provide the solutions demanded by this fast-growing market. At Safran, we are now reaping the fruits of a long-term drive to develop innovation and structure our Research & Technology approach. This has become a virtuous circle, enabling to look to the future with confidence. We do have a very ambitious objective of meeting the technical milestones set by our roadmaps and our development plans, to bring our products to market in timely fashion. And that's the best stimulus for us to continue innovating.