Students working in a group (c) Jonas Kron

Legal foundations



Inventions are all patentable/potentially patentable or registerable designs and ideas, developments and the corresponding know-how and related technologies.

For an invention to be eligible for patenting, the following criteria must be met (Sec. 1 (1) PatG):

  • Innovation 
  • Inventive activity
  • Commercial applicability

The following is not considered to be an invention (Sec. 1 (3) PatG):

  • Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods
  • Aesthetic creative forms (LAW ON DESIGN)
  • Schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, for games or for business activities
  • Computer programmes (COPYRIGHT)
  • Reproduction of information


An inventor is a person that single-handedly, or together with other co-inventors, made a new invention and who meets the criteria for being the true originator of the invention in accordance with the Law on Patents (PatG) and the Law on Employee’s Inventions (ArbnErfG).

Job-related invention & free invention

Inventions by employees in accordance with the Law on Employee’s Inventions (ArbnErfG) are classified as either job-related or free:

A job-related invention is an invention made during an employment/public service relationship which either originates from the job-related activities of an employee/civil servant at an institution of higher education/university or that is based significantly on the experiences and work of the institution of higher education/university.

A free invention is an invention that does not meet the above mentioned criteria (cf. job-related invention). All THWS students are considered private/free inventors.

Computer software

Computer software means all computer programmes and their forms (operating system, applications, utility software, macros, e-mail programmes, etc.), and includes the design.

Computer programmes are protected under copyright law if they are the result of their author's own intellectual creation (cf. Sec. 2 UrhG).

Pursuant to §69 b UrhG, THWS is exclusively entitled to exercise all proprietary rights to the computer programs, unless otherwise contractually agreed and the computer program was created by an employee in the performance of his duties or in accordance with the instructions of his employer.

Usage and protection of the THWS corporate design

Using the name and logos of THWS to indicate an affiliation to the institution is allowed for THWS employees and students after consultation with the Department of Public Affairs and Communications ( However, users must adhere to the guidelines found in the THWS Manual “Corporate Design”.

The most important links to laws and guidelines

Link to the Law on Patents (PatG)
Link to the Law on Employee’s Inventions (ArbnErfG)
Link to the Federal Act on Copyright and Related Rights (UrhG)
Link to the Federal Act on the Protection of Designs (DesignG)