Struck by a bright technological idea ? – Your ideas are valuable
You may not have invented the wheel (a long time ago, someone beat you to it), but who knows, maybe there is another revolutionary idea floating around in your brain. An idea that one day may prove to be valuable. Or maybe it already is. Agfa welcomes your ideas and is eager to support you in the further development of your idea. However, there are some guidelines and rules that have to be followed while introducing your idea to Agfa. In that way, we can consider each ‘invention’ thoroughly and objectively. If the rules sound strict, it is because we are trying not to mislead you. We want to protect your interests as well as ours. In no way, these rules are meant to put you off. Only the entries that apply to these rules will be withheld, so please check them thoroughly. You will find the necessary steps for submitting your idea in the submission procedure. We congratulate you with your creativity, and thank you for associating Agfa with new, imaginative ideas! Good luck!
Once you have passed the following guidelines, please follow our submission procedure for presenting your idea.
The origin of the idea
You must assure us in good conscience that you are the one who originated the idea. You also need the legal right to negotiate that idea with Agfa.
The claims to the idea
We will only consider your idea after all the owners have submitted it. The name of the persons and the nature of their interests must be known to Agfa. If your employer has any rights to your idea, we need a written statement from him/her that enables you to continue the procedure.
If you are younger than 18, your parents or guardian must sign the Non-Confidential Idea Submission Agreement.
Neither are we given any rights under a patent, which you already have or may obtain in the future, if you submit your idea to us.
We advise you to consult a patent attorney before submitting any information concerning your idea to Agfa. He can help you to define if your idea can be patented. He can also assist you on other levels, e.g. the commercial possibilities of your idea or the right a patent gives you against other parties. Agfa does not assume any obligation to consult you on these matters.
The confidentiality of your idea
The general description of your idea in the Non-Confidential Idea Submission Agreement should not include anything you deem proprietary or confidential. Agfa assumes no confidential relationship with you when you sign and send in that Agreement, neither does Agfa agree to maintain the idea in confidence.
Mere disclosure of your idea to an Agfa officer or employee cannot establish any obligation of confidence or other restriction on Agfa. Please, bear this in mind in the preliminary discussions with our employees. They are not authorized to accept information on a confidential or restricted basis.
You are free to submit your idea to other companies without informing us. However, we request that you do not disclose that Agfa is considering your idea.
Once we have studied your idea in detail, we will let you know in writing whether we are interested in further correspondence. We assume no obligation to tell you something we already knew or have discovered since you submitted your idea.
The submission of an idea proceeds through several stages. Those stages represent a fair balance between your interests and rights and those of Agfa. The procedure applies worldwide and cannot be modified or waived.
Stage 1: the preliminary stage
Agfa will normally be interested in considering your idea if:
- Agfa has an interest in the major market where your idea can be applied
- Your idea has culminated beyond the stage of a mere idea
- Your idea does not concern sales promotion or marketing ideas
- Your idea does not reflect an already existing Agfa product
- The product, process, device or formula you thought of does not already exist
Agfa can be interested in your idea if:
- Your idea’s end use falls inside the following major markets where Agfa currently sells products: graphic systems, medical imaging, digital printing, micrography, motion pictures, digital cameras, scanners, inkjet supplies, software for imaging applications, optics, phototooling (pcb), nanoparticles, aerial photography, cartography. You can find more product information on http://www.agfa.com.
- Your idea is more than a mere concept for a new product that you have not yet put into practice. Your creative effort must already have culminated in a working device, product, process or formula.
- Your idea has nothing to do with sales promotion or marketing ideas.
- Your idea does not reflect the use for any of Agfa’s existing products. We rely on our own scientists, engineers and marketing analysts for this.
- Your idea does not represent an already existing product, process, working device or formula. Such ideas are, for example, already shown or described in someone else’s patent, catalogue, magazine, encyclopedia or printed publication. Or it is already known to the public, a trade or Agfa.
Stage 2: for patented ideas
If you have applied for a patent but it has not yet been granted, we kindly ask you to follow the procedure for the non-patented ideas. Attention: a pattent application is not a granted patent.
Agfa prefers to welcome ideas or inventions that are covered by a patent or copyright. This gives us a better understanding of what your idea is and how you have defined it. It also significantly increases the possibility that products embodying your idea will be protected against competition.
If you have a granted patent covering your invention, and the idea is consistent with our basic rules, just send a copy of it to Agfa-Gevaert N.V., Septestraat 27, B-2640 Mortsel, Belgium att. to Mr. Luc Vanmaele, RDM, Manager Technology Scouting. Fax: +32 (0)3 444 3347.
No other steps are required. Agfa will notify you in writing within six weeks whether we are interested in your patented idea.
And once again, we thank you for letting us in on your inventive ideas!
Stage 2: for non-patented ideas
Please be aware that non-confidential disclosure of any inventive part of your idea to outsiders (such as Agfa) prior to patent filing is likely to destroy your patent rights in most countries of the world. So, we strongly recommend that, before you present your idea to us, you consult a patent attorney for professional advice. The costs involved in obtaining such advice are your sole responsibility.
If you want to send us your non-patented idea, you must complete a Non-Confidential Idea Submission Agreement and a Questionnaire. This way, without revealing confidential information, you summarize your idea and answer some basic questions regarding its commercial prospect.
To submit your idea, please print this pdf-form , fill it out and send it by mail or fax to:
att. to Mr. Luc Vanmaele
Manager Technology Scouting
Fax: +32 (0)3 444 3347
Agfa can retain whatever material you submit to us for assessment. In order to be certain that your files and ours correspond, we advise you to keep a duplicate copy of everything you send to us. If you have more than one idea, each should be accompanied by a separate Non-Confidential Idea Submission Agreement.
Do not include any attachments (such as your sales brochure, in case you are already selling a product embodying your idea), as that may mislead us while evaluating your idea. If you are in doubt about what you should tell us, please consult your patent attorney.
Stage 3: Agfa’s internal evaluation of your idea
We will not conduct any evaluations or negotiations before we receive your granted patent or the signed Non-Confidential Idea Submission Agreement.
Once you have sent us the Submission Agreement or a copy of your patent, your idea will be assessed at Agfa by researchers, marketing people, and one or more managers of our business units. If we think that there is a chance that we will purchase or license the idea, we may also ask the opinion from our patent attorneys on the potential strength of your patent rights.
We will try to inform you in writing within six weeks, whether we are interested in your idea. Please appreciate however, that some ideas take extra time to evaluate. If, after our assessment, we are still interested in your idea, we may wish to enter into a formal written contract with you. This contract may, among other things, grant patent rights to Agfa and provide compensation to you.