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UZH Innovation Hub

Knowledge & Technology Transfer

Alongside research and teaching, the academic transfer of research results and the latest technologies is one of the University of Zurich’s key mandates.

The aim of knowledge and technology transfer is to generate economic and social benefits based on university research results. Startups and larger coorporation may set up a licensing agreement with the university to use it's knowhow in new products and services.

In many cases and especially in the hightech field it is essential to protect the intellectual property  behind innovative products.

Researchers of the University of Zurich are asked to register their inventions with Unitectra. This is the first step of the technology transfer process.


A technical invention can be protected with a patent for 20 years. If an invention is new, technically applicable, original and represents a clear improvement, then it can be patented. Inventions need to be patented to make them interesting to industry and business partners as economic implementation usually requires high levels of investments.

For this reason, it is essential that you handle your invention with the strictest confidence before the patent is registered. If information becomes public before the patent is registered (e.g. through presentations, publications, posters, exhibitions), it will no longer be possible to register a patent.
Download Unitectra invention registration form
Download software disclosure

Your invention is protected in countries where a patent has been registered and granted. Patents can also be traded, i.e. patents can be sold, or the use of the invention limited.

Other property rights


Trademarks allow a company’s goods or services to be distinguished from the goods or services of other companies. In principle, all graphically representable symbols may be trademarks. Registering a trademark with the trademark register allows it to be protected for the corresponding goods and services. The protection term is 10 years and can be extended upon request. The trademark is registered in the university’s name.


Copyright protects works created by authors and artists. A work is automatically copyrighted when it is created and copyright protection does not need to be requested. There is no copyright register. The protection is limited in terms of time and expires 70 years after the author’s death.


Creative works that are either two-dimensional (e.g. labels) or three-dimensional (e.g. watches) may be protected as designs. Designs are very rarely registered at universities. Further information can be found on the website of the Intellectual Property Institute IPI.

For questions related to property rights, contact Unitectra.

Licensing agreement

With a licensing agreement, the University of Zurich allows other parties to use intellectual property (e.g. a patent or trademark) for commercial purposes under certain conditions and in exchange for remuneration (licensing fees). The University of Zurich remains the owner of the intellectual property.

Licensing income

The University of Zurich guidelines regarding licensing income can be found here: Licensing income

Weiterführende Informationen



Unitectra, the technology transfer office of the UZH.

Invention disclosure

The disclosure of your invention is the first step of the commercialization process.

Principles for Spin-Off Companies at UZH

What principles apply for researchers and their foundation of spin-off companies at the UZH?