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Intellectual Property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names and images used in commerce. In the University field IP can be viewed as the results and outcomes of research.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) are specific legal rights which protect IP.

IPR can be divided in the following categories:

IPR Maximum Duration
Patent  20 years
Utility Models  7-10 years
Registered Designs 25 years
Trademarks Unlimited
Confidential Information /CDA Unlimited
Copyright 70 years after death of author


  • Patentability: Patent shall be granted for any inventions which are susceptible of industrial application, which are new and which involved an inventive step. 
  • Novelty:  An invention shall be considered to be new if it does not form part of the state of the art.
  • The state of the art: Comprises everything made available to the public by means of an written or oral description, by use, or in other way before the date of filing of the patent application. 
  • Inventive step: An invention shall be considered as involving an inventive step, if having regard to the state of art, it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art. 

Not patentable:

  • contrary to ordre public
  • discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods
  • aesthetic creations
  • schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers
  • presentations of information 
  • methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body shall not be regarded as inventions which are susceptible of industrial application. This provision shall not apply to products, in particular substances or compositions, for use in any of these methods.


The term of European patents is strictly limited to 20 years, a special form of protection for human or veterinary medical products, and for plant protection products linked to basic product patent was introduced to through the EU Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC). SPCs were designed to compensate patent holders for loss of effective patent term in cases where there are delays in taking a product to market due to the time needed for regulatory approval process to be completed.  The SPC can extend a patent right for a maximum of five years. A six-month additional extension is available in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1901/2006 if the SPC relates to a medicinal product for children for which data has been submitted according to a Paediatric Investigation Plan (PIP).

The first step in gaining protection for an invention is to file an initial (priority) patent application. The date of filing of this priority application is termed by priority date. Contracting states to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (176 countries) recognize a right to priority from the priority application for a period of 12 calendar months. Having a priority right means that the patent applicant can file a follow-up patent application related to the same invention up to 12 months in any Paris Convention country.

Generally, applicants first file a national or regional patent application with their patent office, and within 12 months from priority date, file a PCT (international patent application).

International searching authorities (ISA) transmit international search reports (ISRs) & written opinions.

As soon as possible after the expiration of 18 months from the earliest filing date, the content of the international application is disclosed to the world.

A second ISA identifies, at request of applicant, published documents which may not have been found by the first ISA which carried out the main search because of the diversity of prior art in different languages and different technical fields.

One of the ISAs at request of applicantt, carries out an additional patentability analysis, usually on an amended version of the application.

After the end of the PCT procedure, usually at 30 months from the earliest filing date of the initial application, from which the priority is claimed, applicant starts to pursue the grant of patents directly before the national (or regional) patent offices of the countries in which the applicant wants to obtain them.

Once the applicant have entered the national phase, the national or regional patent offices concerned begin the process of determining whether they will grant the applicant a patent. Any examination which these Offices may undertake should be made easier by the PCT international search report and the written opinion and even more by an international preliminary examination report.

The employee(s) reports the invention to the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) by submitting an Invention Disclosure Form. Anyone who made a conceptual contribution to the invention should be named on the invention disclosure form.

How to do it

The Invention Disclosure Form can be written in German or English, and can be downloaded here.

Am I obliged to report inventions?
In accordance with the Austrian University Act of 2002 (Universitätsgesetz (UG) 2002 §106) all University affiliated employees are obliged to report their inventions to the Technology Transfer Office (TTO). Inventions made in the course of third party-funded research projects must be reported without fail, in order to ensure that the University may fulfil its contractual obligations and, if necessary, assign the rights to third parties.

How does the invention disclosure work?
The easiest way to initiate the invention reporting process is to complete an Invention Disclosure Form (it can be written in German or English) and submit it to the Technology Transfer Office by email or post. The information including in or annexed to the Form must describe the invention in sufficient detail to allow an assessment of its novelty and potential commercial applicability. It is important to provide all the requested information on the inventors (or contributors to the invention) and to decide their relative contributions to the invention in percentage terms. Should the invention be successfully commercialized at a later date, inventor remuneration will be shared among the stated individuals according to the percentages agreed to in the Invention Disclosure. All inventors/contributors should sign the final version of the invention disclosure to indicate the accuracy of the given information and their agreement to the inventor shares in the invention.

If you have any questions or need help completing the form please contact the Technology Transfer Office at Technology Transfer.

I'm only a student here at Vetmeduni Vienna - do I still have to report inventions?
The Vetmeduni Vienna has no automatic claim to inventions made by students unless they have an employment contract with the University.

However, upon invitation, students may assign their rights in an invention to the University of Vetmeduni Vienna. They will then have the same rights and obligations as University employee inventors, and in particular will be entitled to a share in inventor remuneration in the event of successful commercialization of the invention. Particular care must be taken when students are involved in research projects funded by third parties, when the University is contractually committed to offering or assigning inventions to the sponsor, and treating research results as confidential. In this case written agreements should be concluded with individual students before they start work on the project so that the University can fulfil its legal obligations. The Technology Transfer Office can provide suitable agreements upon request.

The TTO will evaluate the invention, working closely with the employee(s) to confirm that it is new and novel and to evaluate its potential commercial value.

Once an invention has formally been reported the University has 3 months in which to assess the patentability and market value of the technology and decide wether or not to claim it. The invention must be kept confidential by the University and by the inventors during this period. If the invention is not claimed by the University within the 3 month time limit, ownership of the invention reverts to the inventors, who are free to commercialise it.

When the University successfully licenses or sells a particular patentable/patented invention it has claimed from the inventors,  it assigns any net income generated (i.e. the remaining income after deduction of expenses) as follows:

  • 35% to the Inventors (collectively to those individuals who have significantly contributed to the development of the technology or invention (“inventor remuneration”),
  • 35%  to the relevant Institute,
  • 20% is retained by the Vetmeduni Vienna for general use,
  • 10% is retained by the Vetmeduni Vienna Technology Transfer for use in supporting technology transfer activities.

Most commonly, the University makes technology available to companies through exclusive or non-exclusive licensing of its intellectual property and/or know-how. The licensee is granted the rights to use the technology in return for appropriate remuneration. The terms and conditions of each licence agreement are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

The Technology Transfer Office is responsible for negotiating and drafting technology licence agreements on behalf of the University. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Vetmeduni Vienna actively encourages its scientific researchers to consider opportunities for commercialising technologies developed at the University.

One such way is to start your own company to actively promote and commercialise your research.

For any questions you may have in this regard please contact Christine Ruckenbauer.

Here are some examples of Vetmeduni Vienna Spin-off companies.

Link webpage University Innsbruck [German only]

Trade Secret are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors.

Grace Period - a period of time (typically 6, or 12 months) before filing a patent application during which a direct or indirect disclosure of the invention by the inventor does not consitute a bar on patentability in some countries.

Confidential Disclosure Agreement - an agreement obligating one or more contracting parties to hold certain information secret for a period of time.

Material transfer agreement is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use is for his or her own research purposes.

Consortium Agreement specifies the rights and obligations of the project partners.

Vetmeduni Vienna internal links

Invention disclosure [coming soon]

Guide line for inventions [German only]