Technology Transfer

What is Technology Transfer?

Excellent research can result in inventions which can benefit business and industry. Research results can lead to new products, new forms of research collaboration and sometimes to new businesses. The most important function of commercialisation is to ensure that new knowledge is exchanged, developed and put into production in order to ensure that research innovation benefits everyone in society and helps solve global challenges.

If you have produced an invention in connection with your research, you must report it to Technology Transfer Office (TTO), who will help you with the process.

Report an invention or software

If you have produced an invention in connection with your employment at Aarhus University or Central Denmark Region, you can report your invention here

Why do you have to report inventions and software?

According to the Danish act on inventions, all employees of public research institutions are required to report inventions produced in connection with their work, because as a general rule, the employing institution owns the rights to employees’ inventions. According to the act,an employer must  apply to have the invention commercialised if the employer wishes to exercise its right to the invention.

Read more about the Act on Inventions here 

What is the difference between inventions and software?

Inventions are technological innovations with industrial applications which are eligible for patents under the Danish Patent Act or which are eligible for registration as utility models under the Danish Utility Models Act.  Three conditions must be fulfilled for patentability: the invention must be new, it must fulfil the inventive step requirement, and it must have industrial applications.

As an employee of AU/the region, you are required to report a potential invention. The potential invention is then subjected to a patentability analysis to assess whether it fulfils the conditions for patents or utility model status.

Inventions produced at public research institutions are regulated by the Act on Inventions, which was first adopted in 1999.

Read more about the Act on Inventions

Report an invention here

Software is defined as instructions or information which enable a processor to perform specific actions, regardless of whether these instructions exist in machine-readable digital format (object code) or in written form on paper (source code). Examples of software include all products which are traditionally regarded as computer programs/software, in addition to products such as apps for smart phones and tables. Preparatory design material is also be considered software if the material are so concrete in character that it would be possible to write source code on the basis of the description without further significant preparation/creative efforts.

As an employee of AU/the region, you have a duty to report software and preparatory design material.

In Europe, pure software cannot be patented. To be eligible for patent, software must provide a technical contribution to a technical problem. In other words, it must be attached to an apparatus or device. In such cases, the effects of the software are protected by patent, not the code. However, software is protected by the Danish Copyright Act. Software produced in the context of an employment relationship is regulated by section 59 of the Danish Copyright Act.

Read more about the Danish Copyright Act here 

Report software here (Use the reporting form for inventions)

When are you considered an inventor?

A person who has made an intellectual contribution to the development of an invention is considered an inventor.

For this reason, only persons who have made a genuine intellectual contribution to a (potential) invention should be listed on the reporting form. This requirement is particularly important in relation to the final patent application. Listing non-contributing persons as inventors out of courtesy can have serious negative consequences. In the worst case, the patent may be declared invalid.

Inventor contributions must be expressed in percentages. This information is used to determine AU’s/AUH’s share of any inventions produced in collaboration with external partners, in addition to the calculation of the share of remuneration due to each party in the event that the invention is exploited commercially.

When you report an invention, we can assist you in determining who to list as inventors if necessary.

If you are in doubt whether a particular contributor should be listed as an inventor, read more here.

What can you achieve?

When the process of commercialising an invention begins, contact is taken to relevant businesses or investors. Most often, this is done with a view to licensing rights to the invention for commercial use.

Income to the university resulting from such agreements can benefit you financially, in the form of remuneration paid by the university to you. Read more about Aarhus University’s rules and regulations for calculating remuneration here.

But just as often, such dialogue results in new research partnerships with the company in question – so reporting an invention can also be an alternative method of acquiring research funding.

Another option chosen by some researchers is to start their own business. A spin-out can both create an opportunity to start your own business as well as generating new research collaboration.

But remember that any secondary employment must be approved by your department head.

Read about spin-outs from Aarhus University here

Are you interested in starting your own business?

If you are considering starting your own business based on an invention or other research results, we recommend that you do so in connection with the commercialisation process. Talk to the business development team about your options, and let us help you explore the possibilities.

We can help you:

  • Make a plan
  • Evaluate the potential of your business idea
  • Make contact to potential investors to assess the feasibility of your plan
  • Prepare a presentation for potential investors

Just remember that any secondary employment must be approved by your department head. And that your own commitment is crucial to your success!

Read about spin-outs from Aarhus University here

Science for Society – read more about entrepreneurship activities here

For students – Visit the Student Incubator

Do you need an overview of the process?

Here is a step-by-step review of what happens when you report an invention:

  1. Your report is registered and dated. Immediately afterwards, you receive a letter confirming that your report has been received.

  2. Then you will be invited to a meeting with a business development consultant, a legal specialist and most likely a patent agent. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss aspects of the report, including patentability, ownership, inventorship, commercialisation as well as further research and development.

  3. No later than two months after the report is received, you are informed whether AU wishes to take over the rights to the invention and initiate the commercialisation process. In this context, it is important that:
    • The invention is patentable
    • That there is a need for the technology on the market
    • That there is a plan for further development
    • That there are people who are able to work on the invention in a research capacity.

  4. When the university takes over the invention, an active commercialisation process begins. This is most often done by patenting the invention to protect the university’s rights to it, as well as by engaging potential customers in an active dialogue in order to gauge the market’s level of interest in the particular invention. 

  5. Contact and dialogue with companies

  6. The last step in the process is the conclusion of an agreement, normally in the form of a licensing agreement. The university remunerates the inventor after the overall costs of the process have been covered. Read more about Aarhus University’s rules and regulations for calculating remuneration here

We don’t want to waste your time And so we regularly evaluate all projects in relation to the input we receive from the market and the results which are achieved. If feedback from the market indicates that your invention is not commercially viable, it may make sense to end the commercialisation process and continue the work as a pure research project. 

We recommend that you read the Inventor’s Guide to learn more.

The Inventor's Guide

If you are interested in learning more about inventions, the commercialisation process, patents, spin-outs, and so on, you will find lots of useful information in the Inventor’s Guide.