Invention disclosure in accordance with the German Employee Invention Act (ArbnErfG)

In accordance with the German Employee Invention Act (ArbnErfG), employees are required to immediately inform their employers of any inventions. The university is entitled to claim and exploit employee inventions.

The invention must be communicated in writing to the employer (the university). Please use the invention disclosure form for this purpose.

The form can be completed online. Once completed, print out the form, sign it and send it off.

The PVA would be happy to advise you on all questions relating to invention disclosure.

Invention processing procedure

Receipt of the completed invention disclosure form starts the clock on a time period of a maximum of four months. During this period, the invention is evaluated by the Patent Marketing Agency, which then provides the university with a recommendation for its use. This period may be reduced to two months if the inventor plans to publish the research findings in the near future. At the end of this period at the latest (although generally significantly earlier), the university reaches a decision regarding whether to claim or release the invention.

Download PVA schedule outline (PDF, approx. 341 KB)

Invention evaluation 

If the university is informed of an invention, it will immediately forward the corresponding documentation to the Patent Marketing Agency (PVA). This begins the invention evaluation process. Following one or more discussions with the inventor or inventors, during which the specifics of the invention and the general framework (inventor’s employment status etc.) are established, the PVA evaluates the invention in terms of its innovation, patentability and marketing potential. This evaluation is the basis for the university’s decision regarding whether to claim or release the invention. If the invention is released, the inventor may decide to obtain their own proprietary protection for their invention.

If the university chooses to claim the invention, the PVA works together with patent lawyers to establish proprietary protection for the invention, as well as of course collaborating closely with the inventor on a patenting strategy.

Once the patent application has been filed, the process of marketing the invention begins.

Inventor compensation

If the university has claimed the invention, then it will assume responsibility for the full cost of proprietary protection, i.e. both patent lawyer costs and application/maintenance costs. The inventor is entitled to 30% of the gross revenue from the exploitation of the invention, and is not responsible for any of the costs incurred.

Marketing the invention

Once the patent application has been filed, the process of marketing the invention begins. First of all, a brief description of the invention focusing on the benefits for potential customers is prepared and an exploitation strategy is developed in collaboration with the inventor. Next, the Patent Marketing Agency will identify and contact potential licensees and conduct licence negotiations. Saarland University prefers to exploit inventions in the form of patent-based and/or technology-based company start-ups than to make use of external exploitation.

team overview