Technology Transfer Office @ EPFL

Getting your way around intellectual property dilemmas

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at EPFL manages the intellectual property resulting from EPFL research, evaluates new inventions, negotiates and approves research contracts with industrial partners, licenses technology and supports start-up creation. 

The TTO can be of a great help for PhDs wanting to develop further the research into commercial products. They can provide invaluable advices concerning issues such as:


  • Invention Disclosure: Publication of research results, whether in a scientific review, conference presentation or oral examination for example, generally prevents protection by patent. Indeed, once made public, the invention loses its novelty value, which is a condition for its patentability. Once a patent application has been filed, the invention may be published without destroying its novelty. The TTO can help you to assess the patentability of your invention before publication.


  • Patents: Patents simply protects your invention by giving you exclusive rights to develop and sell your product. Patentability criteria include novelty, inventive step and industrial application.


  • Softwares: Software licensing is a critical issue to address if you are developing a code that is to be further on commercialized


  • Licenses: You can lease/sell your intellectual property rights over one of your inventions protected by a patent to a company by licensing


  • Research agreements: When your laboratory collaborates with a company (incl. within a CTI project), it is necessary to have the appropriate agreement in place and to know the principles governing the intellectual property of EPFL.


  • Non-Disclosure agreements (NDA): You need to have an NDA in place each time confidential information is exchanged between EPFL and a third party (or a person not employed by EPFL) and no other agreement is in place to protect the confidential information.


  • Material transfer agreements (MTA) : It is an agreement where a party agrees to transfer to another party, under defined conditions, materials (for example a biochemical material – such as nucleic acids, plasmids, peptides, proteins, viruses, cells, tissues samples, living organisms etc.).


More information concerning the TTO @ EPFL can be found in the following link