Licensing at EPFL

A license allows the transfer of technology that is protected by intellectual property rights. Filling the patent is not the final goal – the objective is to conclude licensing agreements.

A license is a contract by which the licensor grants the licensee, under certain conditions, the right to use a patent or software in order to develop and commercialize products or services based upon such patents or software.

License agreements are long-term relationships.

EPFL grants licenses to existing businesses (PMEs or large companies) and to start-ups. In general, when inventors present a credible start-up project, EPFL favors the grant of a license to such a start-up.

The use by a start-up of EPFL technologies and intellectual property requires the signature of an appropriate license agreement with the EPFL.

Such agreements are negotiated with the Technology Transfer Office. When the technology in question is the object of one or several patents (or patent applications), the type of agreement most commonly used is an exclusive license, granted in the start-up’s area of activity.

For agreements concerning software, non-exclusive licenses are generally used. Exclusive licenses on software may be considered in particular cases depending on the history of the code and provided it is fully compatible with the research and education activities of the concerned laboratory and with commitments with third parties.


Sometimes businesses are interested in an invention but want to evaluate it or carry out complementary studies themselves over a period of time, before committing to a license. In these cases, option agreements are the appropriate instrument.

Please contact the Technology Transfer Office for further details.


Technology Transfer Office

EPFL Innovation Park J
CH-1015 Lausanne

Mail:     [email protected]

Phone: +41 21 693 70 23

Access map