EPFL researchers disclose their inventions to the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) through an invention disclosure form or a software disclosure form.
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 commercialization strategy of the invention
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.
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 the deduction of certain expenses:
- one third to inventors
- one third to the laboratory
- one third to the EPFL
EPFL is the owner of its employees’ inventions and software. Inventors or authors have the right to one-third of net revenue resulting from the commercialisation of their inventions with exceptions according to directives.