Employee Inventions

Have you made an invention in connection with your work and are unsure of your rights to your invention? Or are you an employer and are interested in knowing which rules apply to inventions made by your employees?
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The Employee Inventions Act regulates many of the questions that arise in relation to inventions made in the work place. The act applies only to patentable inventions, i.e. inventions that meet the necessary legal requirements for obtaining a patent. The act applies, however, regardless of whether the invention is actually patented. Most of the legal provisions, but not all, can be waived by agreement.

Are you an employee?

As an employee, you have basically the same ownership rights to your invention as other inventors. However this right is modified by the provisions of the Employee Inventions Act. 

Are you an employer?

Under certain conditions, the Employee Inventions Act entitles an employer to take over ownership of the invention or a right of use. An employer's right to acquire the invention is partly determined by what kind of tasks the employee has in the company and how strong the connection is between the invention and the employee's duties. Other considerations which affect an employer's right to acquire the invention are whether exploitation of the invention falls within the company's operations, and if the employee has made any agreements with the employer.

The rights of universities and colleges to acquire inventions made by teachers and academic staff is limited by publication rights.

Entitled to remuneration?

If an employer acquires rights to the employee invention, the employee is entitled to a reasonable compensation provided that the value of the right the employer has taken over, exceeds what the employee is expected to render in the form of wages and other benefits that come with the position.

When determining compensation, it is important that the following considerations are adhered to:

  • the value of the invention
  • the extent of the ownership rights acquired by the employer
  • the employee's terms of employment and the significance of the employee's work place with regard to the resulting invention

Are you an employer or employee and need more information concerning employee inventions, you will find more details in the Employees' Inventions Act. You may also contact the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, + 47 22 38 73 00.

Disagreement between employee and employer?

The Mediation Board for Employee Inventions offers assistance to employees and employers in reaching a solution in a dispute.

Mediation is free, and costs are covered by the state.

The Board consists of a chairperson and two members. The chairperson is a District Court judge. One member is permanent with specialist competence in patenting. The other member is appointed for each individual case and has technical competence relevant to that particular case.

The Board endeavours to bring about an amicable settlement between the parties, including a proposal for settlement. If the settlement is accepted by the parties it has the same effect as a court settlement. Parties are not obliged to accept the proposed settlement. In the event of a later law suit the Mediation Board for Employee Inventions will replace mediation by the Conciliation Board.

The activities of the Mediation Board for Employee Inventions are confidential. The public are not allowed to see the case documents.

From 1st January 2017, the secretariat of the Mediation Board is taken over by the Norwegian Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights (KFIR). If you wish to know more about the Mediation Board and its activities, please contact the Board's secretariat at post@kfir.no or + 47 46 17 18 00.

 

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