Institutionalized Incentives for Ingenuity: Patent Value and the German Employees' Invention

Dietmar Harhoff, Karin Hoisl

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Germany is one of few countries in which the monetary compensation for inventors is not only determined by negotiations between employer and employee-inventor, but also by relatively precise legal provisions. In this paper, we describe the characteristics of the German Employees’ Inventions Act (GEIA) and discuss which incentives it creates. We rely on responses from a recent survey of 3350 German inventors to test hypotheses regarding this institution. We conclude from our data that the law creates substantial monetary rewards for productive inventors. The qualitative responses from our survey confirm this view, but also point to a number of dysfunctional effects.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1143-1162
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Employee-Inventor
  • Inventor Compensation
  • Patent Value
  • Productivity

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