Intellectual Property in the Workplace: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives

28 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2012

See all articles by Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Yale Law School; ONO Academic College; Yale University - Information Society Project; Fordham University, School of Law

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

Suggested Citation

Yanisky-Ravid, Shlomit, Intellectual Property in the Workplace: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives (August 20, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

ONO Academic College ( email )

Tzahal Street 104
Kiryat Ono, 55000

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Fordham University, School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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