An invention is an instruction based on creative work which can be used for technical action. According to the German Employee Invention Act, only those creative works are inventions that are either patentable or eligible for utility model protection. If you have any questions regarding the inventive potential of scientific results, you can contact the Patent & Exploitation Management in the IP and Innovation Management department, which will be happy to advise you.
In accordance with the Employee Inventions Act, inventions must be reported to the TU Darmstadt immediately in writing and in full by submitting a carefully filled out and signed invention disclosure. This obligation to notify or report also exists if, from the point of view of the scientists, patentability or utility model eligibility appears uncertain or if the invention originated within the scope of a third-party funded project or as a joint invention.
The report to the university must be made at least two months before a planned publication!
If there is any further development, addition or improvement to an invention already reported, this must also be reported in writing.
The Employee Invention Act distinguishes between bound (service inventions) and free inventions. A free invention is only deemed to exist if it does not originate from the university scientist's field of activity and is not significantly based on experience or work at the university. It should be noted that even in case of a free invention, there is an immediate obligation to report to the Research Services & Technology Transfer directorate, IP and Innovation Management department, so that it has the opportunity to determine the status of a free invention. In case of service inventions, the TU Darmstadt has the option of claiming the invention on a limited or unlimited basis or of releasing it.
After receiving a proper invention disclosure, the IP and Innovation Management department of the Research and Transfer directorate promptly examines the patentability and exploitation potential in consultation with the scientists and decides within four months whether to release or claim the invention. By claiming the invention, all asset rights to the service invention are transferred to the TU Darmstadt. Afterwards, the application for a German patent is filed immediately with the German Patent and Trademark Office in the name and at the expense of the TU Darmstadt (IP and Innovation Management department). The TU Darmstadt is thus the applicant for the patent application and the inventors are usually always named. Of course, the scientists areconsulted during the entire process and their interests are taken into account. In the case of a release, all asset rights to the invention are released to the inventors, who can dispose of them without restrictions.
In the case of contractually bound inventions (e.g. within the scope of cooperation projects with industry), a claim is also made in order to be able to transfer the rights to the invention – under the contractually agreed conditions – to the company.
In the event of a claim, inventors gain the TU Darmstadt as a reliable and fair partner at their side. The TU Darmstadt has solid experience in dealing with the protection and exploitation of intellectual property in order to support a successful patent application together with partners, such as patent attorneys. Naturally, the procedure is agreed upon with the inventors throughout the entire process. In addition, if the invention is successfully exploited, they receive compensation amounting to 30% of the gross receipts.
For further inquiries and advice, please contact the IP and Innovation Management team of the Knowledge Transfer unit.