Invention Disclosure

From invention to commercialization

In order ensure that the rights of TU Darmstadt employees to their work results, IP and inventions are protected and that inventors can participate in the financial returns in accordance with the Employee Invention Act in the event of exploitation, it is important that they report their invention accordingly to secure their legal claim. This report is to be made simply in the form of an invention disclosure to the Knowledge Transfer unit of the Directorate Research Services & Technology Transfer, department IP and Innovation Management of the TU Darmstadt. The TU Darmstadt subsequently secures the interests of the inventors and will coordinate further details in consultation within the framework of a professional IP process.

Note to the current situation

In order to be able to maintain as smooth a submission and processing process as possible in the current situation, it is now also possible to submit invention disclosures digitally as a pdf document. Please send the disclosure by mail to

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.

Contact

  Name Working area(s) Contact
Deniz Bayramoglu M.Sc.
Head of IP- & Innovation-Management
IP- & Innovation-Management
+49 6151 16-57215
S4|25 321
Susanne GürichIntellectual Property (IP) Manager
+49 6151 16-57210
S4|25 321
Christine RehmannAdministration IP & Innovation Management
+49 6151 16-57223
S4|25 319
G
Ibrahim GencaslanInnovation Manager
+49 6151 16-57219
S4|25 319
Jessica Retzlaff Innovation Manager
+49 6151 16-57203
S4|25 319

FAQ

Employees of the TU Darmstadt are best contacted directly by the Research Transfer Unit of the TU Darmstadt. If you are not a TU Darmstadt employee or external person and have questions on the subject of industrial property rights and patents, the Patent Information Centre Darmstadt is at your disposal with its support services.

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.

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.

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.

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.

An important aspect for the patent application is that the invention has not been published in any way beforehand. A patent can only be granted if the novelty of the invention is given, i.e. the invention has not been made available to the public either orally or in writing (this includes publications and lectures as well as posters, doctoral theses, diploma theses, research proposals, etc.). If it is necessary to present the invention to project partners, for example, please contact the Knowledge Transfer unit on time. In any case, it is advisable to conclude a non-disclosure agreement. The lawyers of the Research Services & Technology Transfer directorate can support you in this.