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Please find below a list of frequently asked questions about HEPTech.

What is technology transfer?

Technology Transfer is a term used to describe the process by which science and technology are diffused throughout human activity. Wherever systematic rational knowledge developed by one group or institution is embodied in a way of doing things by other institutions or groups, there is technology transfer. In general, academic institutions transfer technology through protecting (using patents and copyrights) and licensing innovations. The major steps in this process include the disclosure of an innovation, filing a patent and licensing the rights to innovations to industry for commercial exploitation.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, and images used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into two categories:

  • Industrial property includes patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.
  • Copyright includes literary works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.

Do HEPTech members take patents?

Yes. A patent gives the holder right to prevent others from using the invention. HEPTech member institutes take patents for the following reasons:

  • To increase the potential commercial value of the invention and improve the probability for successful transfer to industry.
  • To be able to influence on the transfer of their technologies, for instance for the benefit of industry.
  • To be able to claim a fair share of commercial success of inventions developed within their institutes.
  • To strengthen the brand of particle physics, nuclear physics and astroparticle physics as centres of excellence in technology development.

How is Intellectual Property protected in HEPTech ?


Copyright protects many different types of works: literary works (novels, poems, stories, etc...), musical works (songs, operas, etc...), artistic works (drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc...), maps and technical drawings, photographic works (portraits, landscapes, etc...), motion pictures, computer programs, databases, etc... Copyright protection is independent from the quality of the work and the author's purpose in doing such a work, in the sense that its final objective is not related to its protection.


Patents are considered to protect technological inventions, either products or processes. A patent provides the patent holder with the right to exploit the invention during 20 years in an exclusive manner. He can also prevent others from producing, offering, selling or using his invention, without his permission. Society benefits from the inventor's contribution (the invention) thanks to its disclosure through the patent.


A trademark is any sign used to individualise the products and services of a given enterprise and differentiate them from its competitors. Its characteristics are distinctiveness and graphical representation. A trade mark is a marketing tool, which allows consumers to identify and recognise the products and services offered by a certain trader. A trade mark can be represented in a wide variety of ways: letters or numbers, words or word combinations, drawings, designs, colours, audible and olfactory signs, [...]

A trademark does not protect ideas, except if the idea has been materialised and fulfils the legal requirements that trademark protection demands.


This industrial property right has been defined by the Council Regulation on Community Design as "the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation". It can be deduced from this definition that the design represents the aesthetic or ornamental character of a product. Technical features or functional characteristics do not fall under the design. Its main function is to attract consumers' attention by making the product more attractive.