Invention disclosure

Why ?

EPFL researchers shall disclose their inventions to the Tech Transfer Office (TTO) through an invention disclosure form or a software disclosure form (files to be downloaded below).

The TTO together with the inventors evaluate the invention (patentability, commercial potential, industrial partners, etc.) and elaborate, case by case, appropriate strategies for licensing.

On the basis of this assessment, a decision is taken on:

– the filing or not of a patent application
– the valorization strategy of the invention

Patent or publish ?

Publication of research results, whether in a scientific review, conference presentation or oral examination for example, generally prevents protection by patent (except in the USA, where a grace period of one year is granted). Indeed, once made public, the invention loses its novelty value, which is a condition for its patentability. Keep in mind, once a patent application has been filed, the invention may be published without destroying its novelty.

Are inventors entitled to a special remuneration?

Yes! The inventor employed by the EPFL is entitled to a share of the income received by the EPFL as a result of the invention’s commercial exploitation by a company having signed an agreement with the EPFL. Usually such income is allocated as follows, after deduction of certain expenses:

  • one third to inventors
  • one third to the laboratory
  • one third to the EPFL

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What about software?

Software is in general protected by copyright but can also be protected by patents.

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