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

See all articles by Marie-Christine Janssens

Marie-Christine Janssens

Leuven University (KU Leuven); KU Leuven - Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP)

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

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

Janssens, Marie-Christine, EU Perspectives on Employees’ Inventions (2013). 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, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2287765

Marie-Christine Janssens (Contact Author)

Leuven University (KU Leuven) ( email )

Tiensestraat 41
Minderbroedersstraat 5
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

KU Leuven - Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP) ( email )

Sint-Michielsstraat 6 box 3443
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

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