In Germany, employees benefit from a plurality of rights which are regulated in the German employee inventions act (Arbeitnehmererfindungsgesetz - ArbnErfG). The employee has the obligation to report an invention, and unless the invention is outside the scope of his business, the employer can claim the invention, as a result of which several obligations of the employer vis-à-vis the employee arise. The latter include the obligation of the employer to file a German patent application, the obligation to offer to the employee any patents or applications based on the invention which the employer intends to abandon, or the right to inventor remuneration. Employers have to spent significant resources to manage these rights and to fulfill their legal obligations.
KKM advices clients on how these rights can be handled in an efficient and cost effective manner such that a balance between the interests of the employer and of the employee can be reached.
Our attorneys have experience in the establishment of administrative systems for managing these rights, such as incentive systems or lump sum payment schemes. In cases in which the employee requests inventor remuneration in accordance with the German remuneration guidelines, we perform the necessary calculations and prepare respective opinions.
On October 01, 2009, the German employee inventions act has been amended such that inventions that are reported to the employer and are not released to the employee within the applicable four month period are automatically transferred to the employer. Prior to this legislative change, inventions that were reported but not claimed by the employer became the property of the employee. We analyze for our clients such difficult legal situations and provide possible solutions to regulate the ownership in such inventions.