Why is there an obligation to report an invention?
The Act on Inventions at Public Research Institutions (Act No. 347 of June 2, 1999) went into effect on June 1, 1999 and applies to inventions originating after January 1, 2000. The law means that Aalborg University as an employer now has the right to acquire all rights to that which the employee has invented in relation to his/her work.
Who is included in the reporting requirement?
All academic staff and teachers, including PhD fellows and technical-administrative staff, regardless of whether the employee is full time or part-time, are included in the obligation to report stated in the Act.
Does the obligation to report also apply with termination of employment at Aalborg University?
Although the employment relationship with the university has ended, Aalborg University can claim the right to an invention if it was generated in relation to the employment at Aalborg University. It is incumbent on Aalborg University as an employer to prove that the invention occurred as part of the employment.
Is there a difference between an externally funded and a traditional university employee?
All employees (including those externally funded) are considered to be university employees if they have a letter of appointment from Aalborg University and thus they are included in the Act.
Does the Act include university employees who invent something in their free time?
It is very difficult in practice to determine whether something was invented in or outside the employment relationship. If the invention is related to the university employee's professional field, rather widely understood, the invention is considered to have been made in relation to work. However, if something is invented in a completely different field, it is considered the researcher's own private invention.
Does the Act include inventions from side jobs with partners and/or external funding bodies?
If a researcher invents something through a side job in his/her field, it is subject to the Act. Accordingly, the invention must be reported to the university. If it is desired that it be stated in the employment contract that an invention from a side job belongs to the company, this requirement must first be approved by the university.
Can Aalborg University employees enter into cooperation agreements with companies, etc., themselves?
Employees at Aalborg University cannot enter into cooperation agreements with companies on their own. Cooperation agreements are drawn up by the Grants & Contracts at Aalborg University.
When can I make public/publish my invention?
Once you have reported your invention to the university, it is fixed practice that prospective publication is agreed on with the Technology Transfer Office in order not to damage the commercialization opportunities. Untimely publication will destroy the possibilities for patenting inventions.
Who pays patenting costs, etc.?
If the Technology Transfer Office deems that the university should acquire the rights to the invention, the university is obligated to pay all patent costs, etc., itself. If the university does not wish to acquire the rights to the invention, the inventor is free to initiate the commercialization process. Inventors must however pay all expenses in this connection.