Employer's acquisition of employee's invention

Supreme Court judgment 22 October 2020, HR-2020-2017-A, (case no. 20-030257SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against judgment.

A (Counsel Sverre Lilleng) v. The State represented by the University of Oslo (The Office of the Attorney General represented by Stein-Erik Jahr Dahl)

Justices: Indreberg, Webster, Falkanger, Falch, Høgetveit Berg

A text in which a doctorate research fellow at the University of Oslo had described a discovery she had made, had been used by a Swedish company in patent applications. The company had been assisted by the research fellow's tutor in connection with the applications. The Supreme Court, which had not heard the issue whether the research fellow should be considered a co-inventor, found that the university had not acquired the invention on "another basis", and that the research fellow was thus not entitled to compensation under section 7 of the Employee Inventions Act. For the provision to apply, there must be arrangements or conduct demonstrating that both parties have agreed on a transfer of the right to the invention from the employee to the employer, which must be decided according to general rules of contract law. The research fellow was not familiar with the contact between the tutor and the company, and could therefore not have committed herself to a transfer of rights to the university. In any case, the tutor could not bind the university, as this was outside his authority.

Read the whole judgment (Norwegian only)

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