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Protecting Intellectual Property

PerformaNat develops gentle, ecofriendly feed concepts for high-yielding cows.

PerformaNat develops gentle, ecofriendly feed concepts for high-yielding cows.

This process begins with an invention disclosure report and, in the best case, ends with the market launch of a patented product. Employees of Patent and License Service first familiarize themselves with the scientific and technical background in detailed inventor discussions and then conduct patent, literature and market research. Depending on the findings, a decision is taken on whether Freie Universität Berlin intends to exploit the invention (and acquires it) or surrenders it to the inventor (release it).

Based on an invention consultation Patents and Licensing drafts a strategy to protect proprietary rights for the invention and then smooths the path to patenting using specialized patent lawyers.

A patent application has many advantages for researchers:

  • The university is liable for costs and manages applications and patents.
  • Patent application is deemed publication.
  • It creates opportunities for cooperation with industrial partners and facilitates the acquisition of third-party funds.
  • It is worthwhile – in the form of inventor remuneration and a special payment to the scientific working group.
  • It protects competitive advantages for spin-offs.

If the invention is not to be exploited by a spin-off, Patent and License Service promotes the sale or licensing to companies. Inventors frequently use their own contacts for this purpose. But external commercialization agencies are also assigned with addressing potential licensees. Negotiations are conducted about conditions for licensing to spin-offs and interested companies and the design of contracts.

Other Property Rights Exist in Addition to Patenting

Not all research ideas are suited to patenting. Whether the protection of copyrights or a trademark can be enforced instead is clarified by Patent and License Service in investigations and discussions.

Protection by copyright is applicable to non-patentable software. However, other copyright-protected works, such as text, image, sound, music or data, and the technical know-how of scientists can also be exploited under certain circumstances. 

In the life sciences there are many other opportunities for commercialization of materials, for which no patent application has been filed. These include cell lines, mouse models, proteins, and chemical compounds, as well as DNA and RNA.

When transferring such materials to external cooperation partners or research facilities, it is advisable to conclude “Material Transfer Agreements,” where appropriate in combination with confidentiality agreements. Patent and License Service is also responsible for doing so.

Andrea Hübner
Phone: (030) 838-73616
E-Mail: andrea.huebner@fu-berlin.de

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