Skip to main content

FAQ patents and agreements

These are some of the most common questions for KTH Innovation's patent attorneys and legal counsel.

Questions about contracts, agreements and ownership

Who owns an idea?

According to the KTH IP policy,  the main rule is that the inventor - that is the person who had the idea - owns the idea. However, exceptions are quite common, as when the inventor has signed an agreement or is part of a research project that regulates the ownership of the result. That's why we strongly recommend that you talk to a legal counsel before signing anything. At KTH Innovation, our legal counsel and patent attorneys can help you with all questions regarding contracts and agreements. Contact KTH Innovation.

How can I know if I own my idea?

The easist way is to book a meeting with KTH Innovation . We'll talk about your idea and draw up a plan for your next steps together.  

What are the most common mistakes people make regarding agreements?

A common mistake is to sign contracts you don't understand or don't get the implications of. That can mean that you unwillingly transfer the rights to your degree project, research results or research. Make sure you understand what you sign before you sign it, and always ask if something is unclear. It's always possible to change an agreement before it is signed but it may be very difficult, if not impossible, to change something that you have already committed to. Make it a habit to always consult legal counsel  before signing anything. If someone is rushing you to sign before you have had time to carefully review the contract it may be an indicator that you should take your time!

What should I consider regarding contracts and my degree project?

Sometimes students transfer the rights to the results of their degree project to the company, knowingly or unknowingly. Not only may it lead to you not having the rights to your findings, but it may also stop you from publishing your results in a paper. This means it is very important to clarify who owns the result and has the right to publish it. Another aspect of this worth discussing is that if students transfer something to the company a reasonable fee should be payable. There is more on this in the KTH IP policy .

When and why do you need an agreement or contract?

During the course of the development of your idea, there are a number of useful contracts and agreements that you will need. Right at the beginning there is often a need for an agreement that stipulates rights, obligations and expections of the parties. There are templates to use, but a good contract is always tailored to each particular situation, preferably with the help of legal counsel.

What agreements are the most important when you develop an idea?

Two particularly important agreements in the early stages of development is a contract regulating ownership and right of use of the commercially interesting idea, and a confidentiality agreement - to be used when presenting the idea to a third party. A confidentiality agreement is particularly important if you are going to be able to get some form of intellectual property protection later on. KTH Innovation can advice you on all issues around contracts and agreements during idea development, both with in-house competence and an extensive network of external legal advisors.

What is the role of a legal counsel at KTH Innovation?

Our legal counsel helps researchers, employees and students at KTH with all kinds of legal issues connected to developing new ideas. Common areas include share holders agreements, confidentiality agreements and regulating ownership of intellectual property.

Do I need to have any prior knowledge of agreements or IPR before contacting KTH Innovation?

Absolutely not. These are often difficult issues in complex situations, and we are here to help. Once again, book a meeting with us  before you publish or sign any agreement just to make sure you continue to own your results and innovations.

Questions about patents and IPR

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) - What are they?

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is a term for various rights protecting intellectual and immaterial assets. The protection includes for example patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial design. Creating a plan for how to handle your IPR at an early stage makes every step on the way easier. Contact us and we'll help you put together a strategy.

What is the KTH IP policy?

The KTH IP Policy was updated in 2019 and regulates the rights of researchers and students who have invented something or created an innovation. 

More on IPR management on the KTH intranet .

What is the Professors' privilege?

The law regarding employees' inventions (LAU 1949:345) regulates to what extent the employer can be entitled to claiming the right to the patentable inventions of an employee. The first paragraph states that "teachers at universities, colleges and other higher education institutions" are exempt from this law. In Sweden and at KTH teachers, researchers and PhD students are exempt, and hence these groups own the rights to their own patentable inventions even when they occur during working hours.

What is the role of the patent engineer at KTH Innovation?

Our Patent Engineer supports researchers, employees and students at KTH in protecting their inventions through patents. For the most part she is engaged in the patent application process and mainly helps researchers who want to patent a research result. 

When is the best time to turn to KTH Innovation for support around IPR?

As early as possible is a good rule of thumb. The worst that can happen is that it's too early but then you'll gain a lot of important knowledge even before starting the patenting process. It is a lot worse to find out when it's too late. 

How long does it take to patent something?

That is a tricky question because it's hard to generalise. Partly because each innovation and results is unique but also because it depends on what you mean. It can take from a month up to several years to have a patent granted, but the timeline is very much subject to each patent process. 

How do you file a patent application?

Before you file a patent application you need to prepare carefully. You investigate the possibility of patenting and make sure the critera is fullfilled. The next phase is to work on the actual patent application together with a patent lawyer. This usually also takes a few months. Finally there is the formal patenting process where the patent authority is involved and the time frame here is between one and several years. 

Does it cost anything to file a patent application?

Yes. Both the patent application and the granted patent requires a yearly fee. This makes patenting potentially costly. KTH Innovation can help you find funding to patent your research result but it is also important to take this into account when drawing up a business model. 

Other questions

Couldn't find the answer to your question? Send us an email! 

Contact KTH Innovation

Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Sep 25, 2020