As of December 31, 2017, we were engaged in several formal joint-development programs with customers for 300mm applications of our products. As part of these efforts, we may sell new products to customers at a significantly reduced margin, and invest significant resources in the joint development and subsequent product qualification. We also were active in evaluations of our most advanced technologies with selected customers.
We also enter into research projects with universities and research institutes. In 2017, we renewed our strategic R&D partnership with the Interuniversity Micro-Electronics Center (imec) in Leuven, Belgium, extending into 2022. Essentially all of our 300mm products, and some of our 200mm products, are involved in this partnership. From 2013 through 2017, we significantly expanded our partnership with additional ALD, PEALD, epitaxy, and LPCVD capability. This gives us the opportunity to investigate, both jointly and independently, the integration of individual process steps in process modules and electrically active devices. We have partnered with imec since 1990, with significant on-site representation since 1994.
In December 2003, we commenced a five-year partnership with the University of Helsinki that aims to further develop atomic layer deposition processes and chemistries. This partnership was extended for a second and then a third five-year period.
Intellectual property (IP) managers work at all of our major global R&D sites, where they capture patentable material resulting from our R&D activities. We now have over 1,600 patents in force worldwide, with many hundreds of those relating specifically to the ALD process technology platform.
We have registered a number of trademarks covering our product portfolio in the principal countries.
ASM, the ASM International logo, the ASM Qualified Licensed Supplier logo, Advance, Aurora, Axis, Dragon, Eagle, EmerALD, Epsilon, Horizon, Intrepid, Medallion, Polygon, Previum, Pulsar, Silcore and Synergis are registered trademarks of ASM International NV. A400, A412, Loadstar, NCP, XP, and XP8 are our trademarks. ‘Drive Innovation. Deliver Excellence.’ is our service mark.