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Invention disclosure and property rights

If you want to start a business, it is important to check at an early stage whether your idea, product, company name, etc. infringe on the property rights of competitors. Ideally, you should secure your own rights before founding the company.  

Industrial property rights include: Copyright law, design law, trademark protection, possibly also technical protection rights (patents and utility models) and the law against unfair competition (UWG). Property rights play a role in every start-up. If you want to import and sell objects, it could be that you already violate property rights during the commercial import. Even a domain name that is similar to your competitor's is enough to get you into unnecessary trouble.

Our consulting services are aimed at:

  • Professors, staff and students of the University of Bayreuth
  • Cooperation partners of the University as well as people interested in founding a company in the environment of the University

Special Service:

  • Individual, confidential inventor consulting,
  • Further education events on the subject of patents - dates can be found here
  • Arranging professional patent searches,
  • Exploitation of patentable research results.

The University of Bayreuth uses Bayerische Patentallianz GmbH as an exploitation partner. This agency is the central service provider for Bavarian universities in the field of patents.

Service inventions / invention disclosureHide

According to §§ 5, 40 ArbNErfG, civil servants and employees in the public sector are obliged to report service inventions (§ 4 ArbNErfG) in writing to their employer or employer's employer." Forms for reporting inventions are available from us on request.


Your business idea may get by without a software development, but certainly not without texts and images. These are the most common cases of copyright protection. The protection arises automatically at the creation of your work. This is how you become the author and stay that way, because copyrights cannot be sold or bought. You can only grant yourself a right of use or - if you are the author - grant it to others. The use can be limited in time, space or also to certain media. The price of the right of use also depends on the scope.

Trademark protectionHide

As a trademark (word mark) you can protect e.g. your company name or product name. This is important for your domain name. If you use a logo or an icon for an APP, you can protect these representations as a figurative mark - or in combination with text - as a word mark. With search, the application at the German Patent and Trademark Office you should ideally plan a lead time of 4-5 months.

Design protectionHide

As a design, one can protect new two- or three-dimensional products. For example, you can protect clothing, furniture or car rims. Material, function and size do not matter. You can quickly get into trouble if, for example, you copy design-protected products with a 3-D printer and sell them commercially.

Technical protective rightsHide

If you have developed new devices or manufacturing processes, these inventions can be protected by technical property rights. Protection is possible as a patent or as a utility model. In order for inventions to be registered for a patent, they must be new worldwide, be commercially applicable and represent a non-obvious solution to a problem. But even if you have not made your own invention, technical protection rights can affect you. For example, if you import devices (e.g. coffee machines) for sale, patented components may well be present in the device.

Law against unfair competitionHide

The law protects consumers and competitors. Among other things, it deals with prohibited spam advertising by fax or e-mail, imitation or obstruction of competitors, betrayal of company and trade secrets, untrue statements, and much more. It is one of the basic laws for founders to be aware of

Special features: SoftwareHide

If founding ideas are based on software, the question of the possibility of protection also arises here. Like a text, software is only subject to copyright. Exceptions are so-called computer-implemented inventions, which can be registered as a patent. There must be a technicality (technical character).  This can be e.g. the application of the software in connection with a sensor.

Property rights and foundation in a team:Hide

Property rights also arise in the pre-founding phase. A founder has a good idea for a company name, a co-founder has written texts for the homepage and another co-founder has taken the product photos for the flyer. But what happens when the team splits up? Who has which right? Such questions need to be clarified and, ideally, agreements need to be recorded in writing so that there are no unpleasant surprises in the case of a dispute.


Bild Andreas Kokott

Dr. Andreas Kokott
Invention disclosures and property rights           

E-Mail: schutzrechte@uni-bayreuth.de  
Phone: 0921 / 55-4672
Fax: 0921 / 55-4616

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Ground Floor, Bureau Nr. 1.2.18 

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