Guide for Innovative and Creative Minds


IP rights are assets

As soon as you have applied or filed for protection, you can sell, license (i.e., 'lease’), or pledge your rights.

When you sell your rights, you transfer them to someone else. You can sell an IP right from the start, for instance, when you don’t want to market it yourself. This way you immediately receive the agreed upon sum, regardless of the future value of the IP right. Or you can wait and transfer the IP right after the resulting product has been successfully marketed.

Under licensing, the IP right owner (licensor) retains their rights. They draw up a contract with the licensee on the manner and time period for which the IP right may be used and how the use will be compensated. We recommend retaining a specialised attorney for negotiating and writing sale and licensing contracts.

If you own the rights it might be easier to find investors. An IP right can also be used as collateral for investors under certain conditions.

Good to know

  • Who owns the rights to an invention or design created as part of an employment relationship?
    First, check if the employment contract deals with this issue. If it doesn’t, then article 332 of the Swiss Obligation Code is applicable. According to this law, inventions and designs belong to the employer if they are made in fulfillment of contractual obligations. Inventions and designs created during regular work time but not as part of contractual obligations must be reported to the employer if this has been agreed in writing. Then the employer can decide whether they want to obtain the invention or design in question.
  • Including intellectual property in the bookkeeping is an important and complex subject. Consult a financial expert or auditing office.