Principles for the Protection of Intellectual Property (IP)

Thanks to its technology transfer, Empa makes a significant contribution towards Switzerland as a strong, sustainable commercial and research hub. It achieves this by offering the research results generated at Empa to industrial partners for commercial usage, guaranteeing Empa’s long-term research and publication freedom as a public institution, and striving for an overall economic benefit as large as possible.

For research results generated within the scope of a joint project with Empa, the following principles apply:

Use of project results by the industrial partner

  • Non-exclusive right of use in the partner’s field of application
  • Option to negotiate an exclusive right of use in a specified field of application

Ownership of project results

  • Project results owned by the generating party
  • Co-ownership for jointly generated project results

Protection of project results

  • Industrial partner may take the lead in filing jointly owned results for protection, supported by Empa

Fair compensation

  • For an exclusive right of use by the industrial partner
  • For an commercial right of use of Empa’s pre-existing intellectual property


  • Right of Empa to publish project results while respecting confidentiality obligations
  • Delay of publication if required for a patent application

Freedom to operate

  • Right of the project partners to use unprotected project results independently of one another
  • Right the project partners to use all protected project results for research and teaching purposes
  • “Freedom to operate” for future collaborations

In individual cases, the project partners may agree on deviations from these principles, taking into account the mutual interests and specific circumstances.