Intellectual Property in the Workplace: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives
28 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 20, 2012
One of the key means for promoting economic growth that enables countries to progress from recession to recovery is by increasing the quantity and the quality of technological inventions developed. The intersection between the roles and rights of employers and those of inventor-employees, as they relate to the achievement of such growth and development, constitutes the focus of this study. The question in this context concerns the determination of the desirable policy for allocation of rights in inventions developed by employees, such as software or medication.
Who should own the intellectual property (IP) rights related to the product: the employee, the employer, both of them or perhaps a third party? This question is critically important because most (80-90%) intellectual property (IP) products in the western world are developed by employees.
This research proposes taking a renewed look at the Anglo-American "Work Made for Hire" norm, which relates to copyright works and the "Service Invention" norm, which relates to inventions. Both norms grant (nearly) all rights to creations or inventions developed/created by employees within the workplace to the employer and are part of a perception that encourages corporate industry. This perception, which the research analyses, has become dominant recently as the US as well as Germany adopted amendments to their industrial IP laws following this point of view.
Keywords: Patents, Inventions, Service Invention, Employment, Comparative Law, Economic Growth
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