Inventions and exploitation of intellectual property

From the invention to exploitation


Have you invented something? Have you had a ‘Eureka’ moment when tackling a problem? Have you already drawn up a detailed description of your invention? Have you already conducted experiments which provide practical confirmation of your invention? Can you provide a plausible and logical description of your invention which a specialist from your area could use to reproduce your invention purely on the basis of your description? If so, then you have successfully completed the invention process.

However, please be sure to keep quiet about your invention at first. Remember, you must first apply for a patent before disclosing your invention.


Before you take the first steps towards applying for a patent, we need to double check that what you have invented has not actually been discovered already.

As a scientist or scholar, you know your specialist area inside out. However, it is still worth searching patent databases (e.g. DEPATISnet, Espacenet) or relevant databases of specialist literature for your invention before registering it.

As a member of the University, you can search a large number of databases free of charge. Further information is available from the FAU Science and Technology Branch Library (TNZB).

Disclosing inventions

The Employee Inventions Act (ArbnErfG) protects your rights as an inventor. You must therefore be sure to officially disclose your invention to your employer. Refer to our guide to disclosing inventions (German) for a breakdown of all required steps.

Please use our official disclosure form (German). (In order to be able to edit the document correctly you should right click on it, select save and then open it).

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about disclosing your invention.

Our patent managers can advise you on all questions relating to your invention, IP rights and the Employee Inventions Act. Once you have disclosed the invention to us, we check that all legal requirements have been met and draw up a IP strategy tailored to your individual situation.


By filing an application with the patent office we ensure the priority of your invention.

In order to ensure that all patent applications are prepared to a consistently high standard, FAU collaborates with law firms specialising in patents. Our patent management team coordinate matters between you and the external patent lawyers and are available to help you every step of the way.


The contents of the patent application can generally only be published once the application has been filed. Please always discuss any plans for publication beforehand with your patent manager!

Exploitation and licensing

As an inventor, you may already know who would be interested in using your invention, or maybe you are interested in finding out about possibilities for exploitation? Maybe you have already been in contact with people who are interested in exploiting your invention? We are always happy to help you arrange exploitation of your invention and our patent managers and legal experts are on hand to assist you in contract negotiations.

IP rights in start-up companies

Are you considering starting up your own company? When starting a new company, an invention could be a decisive factor towards your success. Start-up advisors at the FAU Office of Knowledge and Technology Transfer and Continuing Education (Kontaktstelle für Wissens- und Technologietransfer) (WTT) are happy to help.