Employee inventions

Have you made an invention in connection with your work and are not sure what rights you have to your invention? Or are you an employer and are wondering which rules apply to inventions made by your employees?

People test out AR glasses

The Employee Inventions Act

The Employee Inventions Act regulates many of the questions that arise in connection with inventions made during employment. The Act only applies to patentable inventions, i.e. inventions that meet the conditions of the Norwegian Patents Act regarding the granting of patents. However, the law applies regardless of whether the invention is actually patented. Most of the law's provisions, but not all, can be waived by agreement. 

Are you an employee?

As an employee, you basically have the same right to your invention as other inventors. However, this starting point is modified by provisions in the Act on Employee Inventions.

Are you an employer?

Under certain conditions, the Act on Employee Inventions gives the employer the right to take over ownership of the invention or a right of use. The employer's opportunities to take over the invention are determined, among other things, based on what kind of tasks the employee has in the company and how strong a connection there is between the invention and the employee's work tasks. Whether the exploitation of the invention falls within the company's business area, as well as any agreements the employee has entered into with the employer, also affects the employer's right to take over the invention.

The right of universities and colleges to take over inventions made by teachers and scientific staff is somewhat limited by the right of publication.

Right to remuneration?

If the employer takes over ownership or the right to use an employee's invention, the employee is entitled to reasonable compensation if the value of the right the employer has taken over exceeds what the employee must be expected to provide based on salary and other benefits that come with the position.

When determining the remuneration, particular consideration must be given to:

  • the value of the invention
  • the extent of the right the employer has taken over
  • the employee's terms of employment and the significance the employment may otherwise have had for the creation of the invention
To personer gir hverandre et håndtrykk over bordet

Reasonable compensation for employee inventions

The conciliation board for employee inventions can help employees and employers reach a solution in disputes. Per Kaare Nerdrum chaired the tribunal from October 2013 to September 2018, and has written the article "What is "reasonable compensation" for an employee invention according to the Mediation Board?" (PDF).

Download the PDF

Mediation board for employee inventions

The mediation board can help employees and employers reach a solution in disputes.

Mediation is free, and the costs are covered by the public sector. Using the mediation board is voluntary for the parties.

The tribunal consists of one chairman and two members. The chairman is an official judge. One member is permanent and is knowledgeable in patent law. The other member has technical insight within the relevant area to which the invention belongs and is appointed for each individual case.

The tribunal tries to achieve an amicable arrangement between the parties, including by making proposals for settlement. If the settlement is accepted by the parties, it has the same effect as a court settlement. The parties are not obliged to accept the settlement proposal. In the event of a subsequent lawsuit, tribunal proceedings will replace mediation in the conciliation council.

The mediation board's activities are exempt from public disclosure. This means that the public does not have the opportunity to see the documents of the case. 

The secretariat for the mediation board

The secretariat for the mediation board is located at the The Norwegian Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights (KFIR). You can read more on the Mediation Board's website. You will also find contact information there.