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Dr Michael Huhn, Bardehle Pagenberg Dost Altenburg Geissler Isenbruck

How does ownership of intellectual property rights arise in your jurisdiction and what rights do inventors retain?

In Germany, the ownership of inventions made by an employee is regulated by the Act on Employees' Inventions (Arbeitnehmererfindergesetz). Accordingly, an invention must be reported to the employer, comprising a written description. Having received the employee's report, the employer must declare within a term of four months if he wishes to claim the invention, this being identical with an assignment to the employer. The employer can also declare that he wishes to claim the invention only partially or even to release the invention totally.

In the case of release or if the invention is not claimed within the term, it becomes the property of the employee who can dispose of it, in other words file patent applications, license the invention and so forth, without any limitations. If the invention is claimed (which is the usual case) it...

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