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One of EMBLs five core missions is the development and transfer of technology to benefit society. EMBLEM, as EMBLs commercial arm, supports and guides EMBL researchers through the technology transfer process since 1999.

Please contact us so we can start working together on your cases.

Invention record

Services we offer

  • evaluation of patentability and commercial potential of invention disclosures
  • IP management
  • technology marketing and partnering
  • licensing of technologies
  • material transfer agreements and confidentiality agreements
  • negotiations of conditions for research collaborations or consultancy
  • set-up and support of spin-off companies

Internal Policy

The EMBL “Internal Policy 43” (IP 43) is the framework for all technology transfer, collaboration and consultancy activities at EMBL. The document is available for download here. In case you have any questions concerning IP43 please contact us.

IP 43

Material Transfer Agreement

A material transfer agreement (MTA) stipulates the conditions for the transfer of tangible research materials between two parties when the recipient intends to use it for his/her own research purposes. Materials can be for example cell lines, plasmids, vectors or chemicals compounds but also other types of materials. The purpose of an MTA is to protect the interests of both, providing and receiving party and to avoid misunderstandings from the start.
An MTA should be issued for all cases, irrespective if the material is outgoing or incoming, or if the donor/receiver is an academic or commercial partner. A template for an academic MTA can be downloaded below. If you want to set up an MTA or you receive an MTA from another party, please get in touch and we will take care of the further procedure.


Confidentiality Agreement

A confidentiality disclosure agreement (CDA) or confidentiality agreement is a contract that protects proprietary or confidential information disclosed to or received from third parties. A CDA is appropriate whenever proprietary information is discussed, e.g. conversations about future collaborations. A template of our standard CDA can be found for download at the end of this section. If you feel you need a CDA or if you are asked to sign such a document, please contact us and we will take over the process from there.


The know-how and expertise of EMBL scientists makes them popular consultants for many companies. As a consultant the researcher can share know-how, provide scientific advice or serve as an scientific advisory board member. If you have been approached by a company and would like to offer consultancy services to them, please contact us so we can discuss further steps.

Founding a Spin-Off Company

Many ideas developed at EMBL have been the basis of spin-off companies. EMBLEM has a long history in successfully establishing spin-offs out of EMBL. Since its foundation, EMBLEM and EMBL have set-up 18 spin-off companies based on technologies invented/developed at the EMBL. We offer support with evaluating and developing the company concept and assistance with fund raising. There are many funding opportunities available for new and young companies in the life science sector. We can help you pick out the best option for your founding project, assist you in the application process, help you in finding appropriate management and infrastructure, and support you in the early phases after the company has actually been set-up. Contact us with your idea and we will start the process together that could lead to EMBL’s next successful spin-off.


Can I do both patenting and publication?

Yes, patenting and publishing do not exclude each other, it is just a matter of doing things in the right order.

Does patenting interfere with publication?

No, you can file a patent application in parallel with the publication process. After a patent application has been filed, you can publish the invention/data.

Can I do the patenting after I have published/presented my data at a conference?

No, disclosing/publishing the invention before a corresponding patent application has been filed destroys the novelty aspect of the invention and therefore prevents it from being protected by patents. If you are planning to present your data and think it has patentability potential, contact us before you present/publish it!

What counts as a public disclosure that makes patenting impossible?

Novelty-destroying public disclosure includes: journal articles, conference abstracts, thesis, oral presentations in seminars/at conferences, posters at conferences, internet, providing somebody with a sample of your invention.

Is submission of a publication to a journal considered to be a public disclosure?

No, the review process at journals is usually considered to be confidential, so a patent application can be prepared while the reviewing process is taking place, but it has to be filed very latest on the day the article is published. Note that many journals pre-publish articles electronically, and this is the final deadline by which a patent application needs to be filed.

How long does preparing a patent application take?

Usually about 4-6 weeks depending on the complexity of the case. This normally can be done in parallel to the reviewing process of the journal (see above) so that it does not delay the publication process. The sooner you provide us with the data/invention the better. At the latest, you should contact us when you have a draft manuscript in preparation.

Do I receive compensation as an inventor?

Yes, if your invention is successfully commercialized you will receive inventor remuneration. For details see the relevant EMBL Internal Policy on Technology Transfer (IP43) available on the EMBL Intranet. If you are an EMBL employee all rights in your inventions are vested in and assigned to EMBL.

Do I have to pay for the patenting procedure?

No, EMBL will bear all cost in connection with protecting/patenting your inventions

Does a patent count as a publication?

Yes, a patent application usually gets published in the patent databases 18 months after the initial filing date. This is considered to be an “extra/additional” publication.