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10. When must a patent application be filed for an invention?

The patent application must certainly be filed before any publication (lecture, article, etc.), as otherwise the invention would be disclosed to the general public and no longer considered new. In Germany and Europe publication is understood as verbal or written communication or use of the invention in such a way that the quintessential aspects of the invention become discernible.

We recommend submitting an application at an early stage, since the invention must be considered new all over the world. Research groups often work on similar issues across the globe. Another person may have the same inventive concept as you do and be the first to apply for a patent. If this is the case, you will come away empty-handed.

If a publication revealing the content of the invention is in the pipeline, then the university must be notified in good time (usually two months in advance), preferably in conjunction with the invention disclosure.