Starting from a simple concept, transferring the shape of an interference pattern directly to the surface of a material, the method of Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP) has been continuously developed in the last 20 years. From lamp-pumped to high power diode-pumped lasers, DLIP permits today for the achievement of impressive processing speeds even close to 1 m2/min. The objective: to improve the performance of surfaces by the use of periodically ordered micro- and nanostructures. This study describes 20 years of evolution of the DLIP method in Germany. From the structuring of thin metallic films to bulk materials using nano- and picosecond laser systems, going through different optical setups and industrial systems which have been recently developed. Several technological applications are discussed and summarized in this article including: surface micro-metallurgy, tribology, electrical connectors, biological interfaces, thin film organic solar cells and electrodes as well as decorative elements and safety features. In all cases, DLIP has not only shown to provide outstanding surface properties but also outstanding economic advantages compared to traditional methods.