A German Specialty

During patent infringement proceedings it turns out that the patent does not even belong to the company filing suit but to an employee who had made the invention during his time there. How could this happen even though the company had registered the invention with the Patent Office and had obtained patent protection in time-consuming examination procedures?

In most legal systems, an invention that an employee makes in the company automatically, or at least according to the employment agreement, goes to the employer. However, this is not the case in Germany, where a complicated web of mutual rights and duties regulates the collaboration of employees and employers when obtaining patents and utility models.

Comprehensive Advice

The German Employees’ Inventions Act (ArbnErfG) regulates in detail not only the transfer of rights of an employee’s invention to the employer, but also applications abroad, the options of abandoning patent rights and much more. Without precise knowledge of the legal regulations and the relevant case law, one runs the risk of irretrievably losing essential rights and suffering significant financial damage.

BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT advises its clients comprehensively on all questions related to the Employees’ Inventions Act. We develop procedures together with companies, from the identification of an invention, through the employer’s assertion of its claim to it, to the filing of the patent application. For many small and medium-sized companies we operate as an outsourced patent department and take care of the daily routine in dealing with inventors and patent applications.

We train employees and patent departments to identify inventions and give advice on the appropriate compensation for the inventor. In the event of disputes we represent our clients before the Arbitration Board for Employee Inventions as well as before the courts.

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