IP Transfer 3.0 – ‘Pocketknife Transfer’

A joint pilot program of SPRIND, Stifterverband and Fraunhofer ISI

To date, carrying over and applying research findings into industry and society has only seen limited success. More often than not, the processes of transferring intellectual property (IP) at German universities are too lengthy and complicated, hindering start-up teams’ necessity for fast action and transparent processes. There are neither standardized solutions (blueprints) for the various transfer constellations nor do universities and other research institutions have uniform expertise in IP transfer.

Consequently, spin-off processes are often troubled by uncertainties, even involving conflicts between start-up teams and university technology transfer units. This is because the focus of these institutions is primarily on legally compliant processes and contracts as well as on short and medium-term returns.

In turn, this often inhibits spin-offs or forces teams to agree to conditions with high financial consequences. Financing is therefore unattractive for venture capitalists and that means, promising spin-offs are not given the potential to grow. Slow and less transparent transfer processes also impair the spin-offs’ developmental head start and thwart the start-up teams’ motivation.
IP-Transfer 3.0 Image generated with DALL·E
‘IP Transfer 3.0 – New Paths to IP Transfer’ is a joint pilot program of SPRIND, the Stifterverband, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI). The initiative is also supported by startup.niedersachsen. The experimental community consisting of 17 universities, non-university research institutions, and research associations is united in the ambition to fundamentally simplify and accelerate the IP transfer process for spin-offs and to shape this process for the future success of new companies.


The four elements

Together with the IP Transfer 3.0 pilot group and external experts, the project partners have developed an initial version of the IP Transfer 3.0 called the ‘Pocketknife Transfer’. This version aims to address the existing challenges and provide both scientific institutions and start-up teams with the tools to accelerate the IP transfer process at German universities and research institutions in the future while also making it transparent and legally secure.

Guideline to IP valuation with IP scorecard

IP-Wahl-O-Meter for start-up teams

International practice in dealing with IP-based spin-offs from scientific institutions and a comparison to the situation in Germany

Model contracts for transfer models

More information: Pocketknife Transfer .

Survey of investors on the acceptance of the transfer of property rights

In March and April 2024, the Investor Acceptance Working Group conducted an online survey among German and international investors on the acceptance of the transfer of intellectual property rights (especially patents), in particular on "IP for virtual shares". Among other things, the survey asked about the level of awareness of this model among investors in the early-stage segment and their assessment of the acceleration of spin-off processes.

The survey results are summarized in the following document:
The work on the Pocketknife Transfer includes a policy paper, which evaluates the New Paths to IP Transfer at German scientific institutions. The paper also summarizes recommended actions for policymakers and embraces the individual elements of the Pocketknife Transfer.
It is a joint publication by the project partners of the IP Transfer 3.0 – New Paths to IP Transfer (SPRIND, Stifterverband, and Fraunhofer ISI, supported by Startup Niedersachsen).

You are welcome to send any questions and feedback on the IP Transfer 3.0 to Stifterverband.