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Employee Inventions Law

The German Legal Provisions on employee inventions impose a duty on employees to report inventions to their employers as service inventions. When making the report, they must satisfy various formal requirements. Employers can then decide whether to release the relevant invention rights to the employee or not.

If the invention rights are released to them, employees may exploit the inventions themselves. Otherwise, the rights lie with their employers. In the latter case, the employees merely enjoy the right to compensation for use of their invention by their employers. This right to compensation is not covered by an employee's normal wage/salary. Instead, compensation must be calculated on the basis of the scope of the invention.

Assessment of the level of compensation is governed by compensation directives and a large body of case law. Various assessment parameters come into play, in particular the problem addressed by the invention, the solution found and the employee's position in the company. Once the employee an employer have agreed on certain values with respect to these parameters, a compensation agreement can be concluded. All that needs to be done after that is to enter the annual sales figures generated with the invention in the relevant mathematical formula in order to calculate the amount of compensation.

We will be only too happy to advise you on how to handle and process employee invention reports and calculate compensation.