FAQ

1. Who can contact EZN?
Anyone is welcome at EZN. Our customers are mainly from companies, universities, start-ups and corporations. In addition, we have specific service offerings for private inventors. For the first contact please use our contact form and the questionnaire on our homepage.

2. What are the main activities of EZN?
The main focus of EZN’s activities lies in the field of innovations. Our services essentially comprise the evaluation and protection of inventions as well as the development and commercialization of innovative technologies – also involving funding programmes.

3. In which technology areas is EZN specialized?
EZN’s activities are not limited to a single technology area. EZN’s employees have experience in various technological and scientific fields, e. g. mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, life sciences, medical technology and biotechnology.

4. Is EZN only active regionally or also internationally?
EZN operates worldwide.

5. When is it a good time to contact EZN?
Ideally before the start of an innovation project. In this way, for example, necessary measures, potentials, risks and funding opportunities can be identified at an early stage – the procedure can thus be planned systematically and the project can be implemented in a targeted and efficient way. The effect of “oh, I wish I had known that before” is thus counteracted and the risk can be reduced. Planning and implementation must take place at an early stage. For example, patents must be filed before publication and subsidies must be applied before starting activities, because activities which have already been initiated are generally excluded from funding.

6. What services does EZN provide for companies, start-ups and founders?
This includes patent research, evaluations of innovative projects in comparison to the state of the art and in the areas of technology, company and market, technology and patent value appraisals (e. g. for banks or investors), cost-benefit analyses, individual consulting on property rights strategy, patent management, support with marketing measures and licensing. Furthermore, we prepare potential analyses and realization concepts. We also provide support in obtaining funding and in project management as well as in the presentation of new technologies at international trade fairs.

7. What services does EZN offer to universities and research institutions?
They essentially comprise the evaluation of service inventions, the development of intellectual property strategies, patent management (including the initiation of patent applications via patent law firms), marketing and contract negotiations. The specific activities are usually defined by the clients within the scope of a service description.

8. What services does the portfolio include for corporations and investors?
This includes, among other things, the objective and independent analysis and evaluation of technical projects and intellectual property portfolios of founders, start-ups and companies, e. g. in the form of evaluation reports in an understandable language that also provides non-technical people (e. g. bankers, business people, lawyers) with a basis for their decisions.

9. What services does EZN offer to private inventors?
This includes, among other things, the objective evaluation of inventions (consisting of patent search and profitability analysis), individual advice on IP strategy, coordination and support in the selection of a professionally suitable patent attorney, development of a marketing strategy as well as support in marketing measures and licensing negotiations.

10. What are the advantages of EZN?
EZN has successfully been active in the field of innovation management since 1981. As an independent service provider, we have a holistic view of our customers’ needs. In addition to the manifold technical aspects, we also include the economic area as well as the conveyance-specific concerns. We present the interrelationships clearly and in a generally understandable manner and do not gloss over them. Our aim is to help our customers achieve their goals efficiently, safely and cost-effectively, and to ensure that their success is sustainable.

11. How do I get in touch with EZN in advance of a collaboration?
We can be reached in several ways: In advance, you are welcome to contact us by phone, by e-mail, by letter or via our digital contact form. If you have a specific request, we would like you to fill out our questionnaire completely and send it to EZN. Based on the information contained therein, we can determine how we can best serve you.

12. Do I need to sign a non-disclosure agreement with EZN?
The confidential handling of information is a matter of course for us – already from the moment of contact. The confidentiality is regulated under point 8 of our GTC and is in principle automatically given from the outset. It is therefore not necessary to conclude a separate confidentiality agreement. Our privacy policy can be viewed here.

13. How should I describe my invention?
The description of an invention should be made promptly in writing and should also include some pictorial representations, e.g.: in the form of sketches. In addition to the technical features, the economic advantages should also be presented. You can download a template for an invention description to print out here. An editable version that you can fill out on the computer can be found here.

14. Do I already need an IPR application when I contact EZN?
No, we accompany our customers along the entire path, from the idea to the market success. In principle, EZN can provide support in every phase of the project, e. g. even in the conception or development phase in the run-up to a patent application.

15. What is the basic point to pay attention to in the context of a patenting process?
The 12 biggest pitfalls in patenting inventions are presented to this EZN paper in a general and understandable way (only for general information, no judicial advice).

16. Can I apply for a patent at EZN?
EZN is a consulting company in the field of innovation management. We can initiate patent applications within the scope of special services in coordination with the client via patent attorneys at the patent office. EZN is a partner of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) and the Patent Information Centre of Lower Saxony (PIZ). EZN is not a receiving point of a patent office for patent applications.

17. When should the marketing activities start?
The exact answer to this question depends on the individual case and in particular on the favoured implementation strategy. Above all, a marketing strategy should be developed at an early stage – because successful marketing does not begin with “marketing”, but with strategic planning. In principle, marketing can already be initiated directly after the patent application.

18. Is EZN a public institution, e. g. federal, state or non-governmental organization (NGO)?
EZN was founded in 1981 under public ownership. EZN has been a private company (GmbH) since 1986. All shareholders are employees of EZN. There is no other participation, for example, of the state of Lower Saxony, a federal government or any other company or university/university of applied sciences. Therefore, EZN is independent and not bound by instructions – an essential prerequisite for our objective consulting.

19. Does EZN support funding for patent applications and other projects?
EZN provides numerous services that can be subsidized within special innovation funding programmes. The funds usually come from the public site or other economic development offices. Direct financial support via the EZN Erfinderzentrum Norddeutschland GmbH is generally not provided.

20. How is EZN financed?
EZN is financially independent and is financed entirely by income from its own business operations. EZN does not receive any institutional funding or other funding from third parties.

21. Are EZN’s services free of charge?
The services of EZN have to be remunerated in principle. Many services can usually be subsidized within funding programmes and networks.

22. Does EZN receive commissions from patent law firms?
No. Together with our clients we agree, which patent attorney should be engaged. The criteria are of an objective nature, e. g.: professional qualification, reputation, local proximity and cost framework.

23. Does EZN provide legal advice?
EZN does not provide legal advice – this is provided exclusively by specialist lawyers.

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