German Employees’ Invention Act

This section is only relevant for companies employing inventors in Germany or under an employment contract subject to German law.

According to German law, the rights for the invention belong to the inventor once the invention is accomplished. The German act on employees’ invention (Gesetz über Arbeitnehmererfindungen) foresees a formal process how the right to a patent is transferred from the employee to the employer. The formal provisions of the act on employees’ invention have to be observed for employees contracted subject to German law.

The German Employees’ Invention Act has been modernised by 1 October 2009, facilitating proceedings significantly. The employee inventor can report the invention now in text form including (encrypted) email and fax. In order to transfer the right for the invention from the employee to the employer, the employer can claim the invention within four month after reporting the invention by a declaration to the employee. The employer can also release the invention, if he is not interested in filing a patent application. If the employer does not release the invention in text form within four month after reporting the invention, the invention is deemed to be claimed by the employer. Generally, after claiming the invention, the employer is obliged to file a German patent application, or a European or international patent application designating Germany.

Further information can be provided upon request.