The majority of research projects lead to the creation of new knowledge.
New knowledge may have been created by the university or the company – or in a joint venture.
When DTU has contributed to the creation of new knowledge, it is essential for DTU that the knowledge created is brought into play.
Sometimes, new knowledge can be subject to certain rights referred to as intellectual property rights (IPR) such as a patent. When patent rights are attached to an invention, only the owner of the rights is entitled to utilise the new knowledge in a commercial context.
If DTU researchers have made an invention as part of a commissioned research project, DTU will grant its collaborating partner the rights to exploit the invention as part of the actual project agreement.
If an invention was made by DTU researchers as part of a co-financed research project, DTU may opt to grant its collaborating partner a priority right to exploit the invention.
In agreements on commissioned research and co-financed research alike, DTU prefers that the company’s right to DTU’s results is limited to include only the specific field of expertise covered by the project. This allows DTU to separate the rights granted in various research projects. In practice, the rights granted are separated by means of the description of what is referred to as “field”.
How much does the company pay for the rights?
In commissioned research projects, DTU grants the rights to the invention to its collaborating partner as part of the project agreement. Payment for the rights is included in the payment for the commissioned research.
In co-financed research projects, payment for the rights is not included in any contributions made by the company to DTU’s research. Here, the company must pay the market price for the invention. If DTU transfers the rights to the company at a price lower than the market price, DTU may be granting illegal state aid to the company.
Which inventions are owned by DTU?
The framework defining DTU’s right to use the inventions created by DTU’s researchers is set out by law. Being familiar with this framework may prove useful since DTU’s collaboration agreements are made within this framework.
DTU can only enter into agreements on inventions that are protected by rights held by DTU.
In pursuance of the Danish Act on Inventions at Public Research Institutions (forskerpatentloven) (the “Act”), DTU may take over the right to inventions made by DTU employees.
The Act also allows DTU to enter into agreements with students or visiting scientists, among others, to assign their rights to an invention to DTU.
The Act sets out a number of requirements to be met when a DTU employee has made an invention: Immediately upon making an invention, the researcher must report the invention to DTU. Within a period of two months after receiving the report, DTU must decide whether the university wants to take over the invention.
If deciding to take over the invention, DTU must work actively to utilise the invention. If DTU fails to do so, the rights to the invention must be assigned back to the inventor. DTU must share any profit from a commercialisation of the invention with the inventor.
At DTU, the inventor will receive a share of the profit equal to one third of the profit earned by DTU. If the invention was made by several DTU inventors, the profit share will be divided between them.
Which software rights are owned by DTU?
DTU automatically owns the copyrights to software developed by DTU employees when at work.
If software is developed by persons who are not DTU employees, DTU may enter into an agreement to assign the rights to the software to DTU. This may be relevant for students or visiting scientists.
The copyright to software is not subject to the same rules as apply to inventions.Consequently, DTU is not obliged to utilise the software or assign the rights back to the researcher(s) who have developed the software.
Part of the software developed at DTU is based on other software covered by an open source licence. This means that DTU’s possibilities of entering into agreements on the rights to DTU’s software are restricted.