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 transferring technology is to generate economic and social benefits based on university research results. This can be done by founding UZH spin-offs or by marketing the results by concluding licensing agreements with business and industry partners.

For this reason, it is essential to protect the intellectual property of UZH inventions and innovations. Inventors are asked to register their technologies with Unitectra, the technology transfer office of the University of Zurich.

Contact Unitectra directly to register inventions, for questions about intellectual property rights and licensing options.

Who owns the inventions?


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.

Licenses and agreements

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

brainbox – the meeting place for innovators

Researchers interested in the economic implementation of their research results can meet at brainbox events. Right on campus, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with patent specialists and the experts from Unitectra and discuss topics related to the patenting and marketing of your research results.

to brainbox