Industrial property protection is the linchpin of an innovative, dynamic economy: patents and utility models give their owners the right to exclusive use of an invention and secure the reward for extensive research and development work. They are often a necessary prerequisite for turning a technical innovation into a marketable product in the first place. Design patents grant special rights of use for new product designs. Finally, trademarks and business names can only fulfill their identification function if they offer effective protection against confusing use by third parties. Highly topical developments, such as the discussion about patent protection for software and the importance of trademark protection for Internet domains, demonstrate the close relationship between the comparatively young field of information law and traditional intellectual property law.

These findings and the fact that the protection of intellectual property has a shadowy existence compared to its practical importance in research and teaching led to the establishment of the Research Center for Intellectual Property in the summer semester of 1998. The research centre is spatially and organizationally affiliated to the ITM. Its director is Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren, who also supervises the work. The research center sees itself in a special way as a link between science and industry. It initiates lecture events and informs the members of its support association about current developments in legislation and case law by means of a “NewsLetter”.

In addition to this permanent activity, the research center is dedicated to selected questions of intellectual property law with a scientific objective. Most recently, the project “Inventions at universities” was carried out on behalf of and in cooperation with the NRW Ministry of Science. The results are published in the publication “Universities and Patents”. A particular aim of the research center is to provide an introduction to the basic concepts and structures of intellectual property law for prospective lawyers, students of the natural sciences and practitioners.

The additional training, which is the only one of its kind in Germany to date, is carried out by experienced practitioners and is divided into a lecture section and a subsequent seminar for in-depth study of special issues. In cooperation with PROvendis and with the kind financial support of the Ministry of Science and Research, the ITM has developed a virtual training course on patents at universities. This training course is designed as a permanent offer. The time required is approx. 30 to 40 hours. At the end, participants have the opportunity to take an online exam and receive a certificate issued jointly by PROvendis and ITM. Further information is available at

Contact us

Oliver Lampe
Institute for Information, Telecommunications and Media Law (ITM)
Research Center for Intellectual Property Law
Leonardo-Campus 9
48149 Münster

Tel: 0251-8338605
Fax: 0251 / 83 – 386 01