EU Perspectives on Employees’ Inventions
M. Pittard, A. Monotti and J. Duns (eds), Business Innovation and the Law: Perspectives from Intellectual Property, Labour, Competition & Corporate Law, Edw. Elgar Publ., Cheltenham, UK, 2013, 11-130
21 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2013
For some decades, there has been a growing emphasis on the importance of intellectual property rights in general, and patents in particular, as a tool of economic strategy and competitiveness. More than 90% of the patents granted in industrialized countries originate from employee inventors. This reality has prompted legislators in most European Member States to promulgate laws that regulate the matter of employee inventions. This paper aims, in a first part, at describing the characteristics of the legislative regime in several EU Member States. It is shown that, save for university inventions, the legislative landscape has not undergone fundamental changes during the past decades. In a second part, the paper discusses some attempts that have been made in the past all of which have failed at an early stage. In a last part, the paper criticizes the current reticence demonstrated by the European legislator. The viewpoint that existing differences between member states' laws on employees' inventions are not likely to have an impact on innovation or on the conditions of competition seems short-sighted. The paper shows that a coherent regulatory framework that takes the trend towards Europeanization is not illusive and may have many benefits for intra-European relationships. It is argued that such a goal is feasible even though the specific details of the current statutes vary from Member State to Member State.
Keywords: employee inventions, lack of harmonization in EU
JEL Classification: K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation