Invention and Invention-Disclosure
Employees of TU Darmstadt obliged by law (as per §5 Act on Employee Inventions (ArbErfG)) to communicate and report their inventions to its Employer TU Darmstadt, Dezernat VI C – Referat Forschungstransfer.
How do I report my invention to TU Darmstadt
When is something an invention?
An invention is an instruction based on creative output, which can be used for technical actions. According to the law (ArbErfG) creative output is an invention, if eligible for patent or utility model protection. If you have any questions regarding the inventive character of scientific results please contact the technology transfer unit, UNIT VI C: Technology Transfer.
I made an invention, do I have to report it (when and how)?
According to the law (ArbErfG) inventions have to be reported immediately and in written form by submitting the carefully completed and signed invention disclosure document. The obligation to report and communicate also exists, if first the scientists have doubts regarding the eligibility for patent or utility model protection or if the invention occurred within a third-party funded project or as joint invention.
The invention shall be reported no later than two months before a planned publication!
If further development, addition or improvement of a reported invention takes place, this also must be stated in writing.
What is the difference between a job-related invention and unbound invention?
The Act on Employee Inventions (ArbErfG) distinguishes between bound (job-related) and unbound (not job-related) inventions. An unbound invention occurs only if the invention neither originates from the field of activity of the university scientists nor is largely based on the experience or work at the university. It should be noted, that the unbound is also subject to the disclosure requirement of TU Darmstadt, Unit Technology Transfer. After receiving the invention disclosure the technology transfer unit determines the existence of an unbound invention. In case of a job-related invention the TU Darmstadt is free to claim (limited or unlimited) or release the invention.
What is the meaning of claim and release?
After receiving the properly submitted invention disclosure the technology transfer unit (in collaboration with the scientists) determines the patentability and the commercial potential of the invention. The unit also decides within four months about claiming or releasing the invention. By claiming the job-related invention all property values/rights will be transferred to TU Darmstadt. Subsequently a German patent application will be drafted and filed at the German Patent and Trademark Office on behalf and at the expenses of TU Darmstadt (Directorate Research and Technology Transfer). Therefore the TU Darmstadt is Applicant of the patent application and usually names the inventors. During the whole process the consultation with the scientists and their interests will be taken into account.
In case of the release all property values/rights to the invention will be transferred to the inventor. Thus the inventor can freely dispose of the invention without being subject to any limitations.
What are the benefits of the claim by TU Darmstadt to the inventors?
In case of claiming the invention the inventors atain TU Darmstadt as a reliable and fair partner. TU Darmstadt has strong experience with the protection and exploitation of intellectual property and along with other partners (e.g. patent agents) supports a successful patent application. Obviously the procedure during the whole process will be coordinated together with the inventors. Additionally the inventors earn 30% of the gross receipts, if the exploitation of the invention is successful.
For further questions and advice please contact the Directorate for Research and Technology Transfer, Unit Technology Transfer.
You find further information here.