A short History
After the allied special teams left Germany in 1945 they took with them 340,000 German patents and 200,000 patents listed in other countries. It was estimated that Germany lost 1.500 billion dollars. The Library of Congress writes: "FIAT-BIOS-CIOS Reports. These documents, issued by U.S., British, and combined industrial research teams, report on the state of research for the war effort in Germany. The teams collected patents and paten applications, research reports, and drawings, and conducted interviews with administrative and scientific/engineering personnel from the various factories and research institutions. It was estimated that the value of the information collected amounted to sixteen billion dollars". After the end of WWI it was the DuPont company in the US which benefited greatly from patents taken from companies of the German chemical industry.
Overall, TIIB staff selected from the 3.5 billion pages collected from the files of German industry about 3.5 million which were considered of interest to United States industry. The documents chosen were filmed in Germany, the rest were left there. In addition, TIIB brought more than 300,000 pounds of German equipment and product samples from Germany, in addition to the 200 tons of materials captured by the Army and Navy, which was also turned over to civilian agencies for study and testing after the military had completed its studies.
I am not sure that there was, in the end, an exact accounting of how many documents/pages were taken from Germany, or if that was at all possible. Some documents contained more than 1,000 pages, others, like patent applications, only one.
Von Karman, goes on to say that "some 3,000,000 documents, weighing 1,500 tons were sifted and microfilmed in Europe; eventually they formed the basis for the collections of ASTIA, the Armed Services Technical Information Agency, " now the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). The Annual Report of the Secretary of Commerce for 1946 (5) talks about 3,500,000 pages that TIIB selected. If one adds the documents brought to the United States and processed at Wright Field, and those deposited at the Library of Congress, then the number of pages becomes astronomical.
A report, issued by the Notgemeinschaft fuer Reparationsgeschaedigte Industrie (Emergency Union of Industries Damaged by Reparations) in February 1951 "estimated the total value of the patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property ('geistiges Gut') removed from Germany to be somewhere in the range of 10 to 30 billion Deutschmarks (DM) not Reichsmark, the currency used in Germany prior to its devaluation of 1949, or between $4.8 and $12 billion".
What was the actual value? If we consider that the Library of Congress still receives requests for copies of the German materials, more than 50 years after the War, primarily in the areas of dyestuffs, plastics, fuels, and, more recently, for the location of industries, test ranges for guns and ammunition, storage depots of chemical, biological, and explosive weapons (for the purpose of localizing and sanitizing toxic soils) then, maybe, the Commerce Department was right when it insisted that the value should be based on the usefulness and actual use by American industry over an extended period of time?
The looting of German technology was very thoroughly done by all the allied nations. Germany or German industry was never compensated for these losses. Amazingly the German government is not even pursuing the issue. Nothing is heard from any of the main-stream historians in Germany. Many of the high-tech German projects still waiting to be researched. What happened to the research papers of SS-Gruppenfuehrer Hans Kammler's think-tank in the Skoda factory or he papers taken at Ohrdruf dealing wih the Jonastal project.