The Max Planck Society is a non-profit research organization which is why scientists at its institutes are obliged to make the results of their work accessible to the general public. This knowledge transfer occurs in a number of ways:
- Each year scientists and researchers at the Max Planck Society publish more than 12,000 scientific articles in renowned national and international scientific journals, databases, specialized textbooks, and reference books, etc.
- More than 9,000 junior scientists and researchers work at the institutes of the Max Planck Society. After completing their studies, they go on to assume responsible positions in business, politics, and society.
- New technical breakthroughs developed at Max Planck Institutes find application in the economy and in society as a result of cooperative efforts with industry, the granting of patents and licenses, and as a result of spin-off companies (see Success Stories).
Since 1970, the Max Planck Society has maintained its own company to promote the transfer of technology. Max Planck Innovation (until the end of 2006 under the name of Garching Innovation) advises institutes on matters pertaining to the legal protection of industrial property. Max Planck Innovation does the necessary patent research, arranges legal counsel, and advises the researchers on patent registration procedures in Germany and abroad. In special cases, Max Planck Innovation approaches companies with inventions stemming from the institutes.