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les Nouvelles - March 2009


Industry/University Cooperation In Germany: Model R&D Cooperative Agreements

Prof. Dr. Heinz Goddar

Boehmert & Boehmert, Munich, Germany

Hermann Mohnkopf

Rolls-Royce, Deutschland, “Professor in Innovation Management,” Blakenfelde-Mahlow, Germany

Dr. Christian Czychowski

Boehmert & Boehmert, Certified IT Lawyer, Berlin, Germany

After the revised version of the Berlin Contract “Building Blocks” was presented here recently (les Nouvelles 2008, 142 et seqq), a further step can be reported today in Germany which ensures parties to industry/university cooperation agreements (or research facilities) enjoy greater legal certainty. The Council for Innovations, housed within the Federal Chancellery, acting in a sub-working group commissioned a committee of experts to carry out the drafting of complete model contracts for all essential variations of agreement between universities and their industrial partners in the field of research. The results of their work comprise the four model contracts to be discussed here. They are a model contract for a research cooperation agreement, two varieties (one with assignment of intellectual property rights, one with licence of intellectual property rights) for research projects and a so-called contract for work and services.

1. Introduction

The amending Act from 18 January 2002 changed § 42 ArbEG (Employee Invention Act). The amendment repealed the so-called University Lecturer Privilege. Following this amendment, professors, lecturers and academic employees at universities (the term encompasses both red brick universities as well as universities of applied sciences) are not free to dispose of their inventions as they wish, but must notify their employers of such, thus harmonizing their position with that of employees of private industry. The employer may then claim the invention whereupon all commercial exploitation rights in the research pass to it. Should the employee exploit the invention, the university employee receives a statutory fixed claim to the amount of 30 percent of the gross proceeds of the invention.

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