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> a lot of what you can invent is already owned by your employer by law

I recommend § 18 and § 19 of said "Gesetz über Arbeitnehmererfindungen". They state that inventions that are clearly not done on the employers payroll (to paraphrase this) are so called free (you have to enable your employer to make that call and you could dispute him, if he tries to claim said invention) (§§18).

But you need to enable your employer to use said (free) invention with reasonable terms - but you dictate the terms (§§19). Your employer can dispute the conditions and a court of law then has to decide.

So clearly this law does not enable your employer to claim nearly every invention you could make in your free time.

At least as far as my understanding goes. But I might be totally wrong here. I am somewhat out of my experience here.




You should reread the part I quoted above. It defines the terms used in §18/19: It’s §4(2) https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/arbnerfg/__4.html it doesn’t talk about payroll or not payroll, it’s all about how related to your work assignment the invention is. The rules and regulations around calculating a fair compensation even grade on that exact metric among other things. So it’s essentially what the work contracts stipulate: inventions related to your work belong to your employer, even if done in your off time.

The problem in IT is that depending on what you do, everything might be related to a varying degree.




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