Edited by Jacques de Werra
Chapter 8: Technology licensing between academic institutions and private companies
As of February 7, 2003, following a one-year transition period ending on February 6, 2003, the (now no longer very recent) amendment of Section Article 42 of the German Law concerning Employees’ Inventions (“the Law”) applies to both “old” and “new” contracts concerning research interactions between industry and universities. This being said, there remains a need to find model solutions that will be regarded both by the universities and industry as a positive basis on which to transpose the new legal standards into a form of practical cooperation which all concerned stakeholders will consider appropriate and positive. Such agreements should make contract solutions between industry and universities possible and the negotiation and formulation would require sophisticated legal considerations and professional legal advice, in each individual case, although not necessarily on both sides. In the attempt to find such solutions or model agreements, one has to consider the various aspects and problems presented by Article 42 of the Law. Since the end of the professor’s privilege (previously certain academic inventors, particularly all professors, privately “owned” their inventions, with no obligation to offer them to their university, as their employer), whereas in the past cooperation agreements had often been concluded directly between professors and industry, researching employees of universities no longer have the right to transfer their inventions directly to industry cooperation partners. In accordance with such arrangements, the professor would carry out a certain research project in partnership with or for the industry partner, and the industry partner would allocate respective funds and remuneration directly to the professor.
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