Employers have a legitimate interest in the invention if it arose in the employment relationship. However, the creative achievement of employees as inventors should be recognized and rewarded.
This conflict is resolved by the Employee Inventions Act (ArbEG). Employers may claim an employee invention and transfer it to themselves. In return, employees as inventors are entitled to appropriate remuneration.
The Employee Inventions Act (ArbEG) particularly regulates service inventions. A service invention is an invention made during the term of employment. It may either have arisen directly from the employee’s activities or be based to a significant extent on experience or work carried out by the company.
When employees have made an invention, they must report it to their employer immediately. The employer must confirm the report. The rights in the invention are then automatically transferred to the employer without an express declaration (claim).
If employers do not have an interest in the invention, they may release the invention to the inventor within four months of notification. However, if employers claim the invention, they are generally obliged to register it at least in Germany as an intellectual property right. With the consent of the inventor, the obligation to register can be waived. From the time of claiming the invention, the inventor acquires a claim to appropriate remuneration. Official remuneration guidelines are available for calculating the remuneration.