The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, based in Munich, is Germany’s largest non-profit basic research organization. It maintains 78 institutes and research facilities in Germany (as of 1.1.2006). In addition, there are three institutes and several branches abroad. At present, the institutes and facilities employ approx. 12,400 people, including around 4,300 scientists. In addition, there are also around 10,900 doctoral candidates, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists from abroad.
In 2006, the budget of the Max Planck Society amounted to €1.38 billion; the German federal and state governments financed 82% of the Society’s budget. As a non-profit research organization the scientists at its institutes are obliged to make the results of their work accessible to the general public. Industry cooperations, the granting of patents and licenses, and the founding of spin-off companies are important elements of this knowledge transfer. To fulfil these tasks, the Max Planck Society founded its own company, Max Planck Innovation that serves as its technology transfer agency, connecting science and business.
Max Planck Innovation negotiates and closes agreements on behalf of the Max Planck Society. Income from license agreements is almost completely transferred to the inventors, the Max Planck Institutes and the Max Planck Society. Company shares acquired during licensing negotiations are owned by the Max Planck Society. The shareholder agreements are negotiated by Max Planck Innovation and signed by the Max Planck Society.