For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Why do employees' inventions topics come in threes?

Often bathed in the shade of obscurity, the subject of employees' inventions is enjoying an unusual degree of exposure at the moment. 



Only last week the IPKat broke the news here of what appears to be the first court-ordered pay-out to a pair of inventors under the invention compensation provisions of the Patents Act 1977 (the unamended version, which is pretty hard to manipulate in favour of a pay-out).


Second, the IPKat has received a fresh, sparkling copy of a new book by Michael Trimborn, Employees' Inventions in Germany: a handbook for international businesses. This book, published under the Carl Heymanns Verlag imprint of Wolters Kluwer, is described by the publishers as follows:
"The economic and international property relations between German-based research and development facilities and their employees are extensively defined under German law. Businesses with R & D resources in Germany cannot afford to be less than knowledgeable in this area, particularly concerning the provisions of Germany’s Law of Employees’ Inventions.
This practical guide for professionals and managers in patent and HR departments, both in Germany and abroad, provides a quick and reliable introduction to this important law. Among the book’s very useful features are the following:
* an expert overview on all relevant practical problems which might arise from employees’ inventions in Germany;
* diagrams which visualize how service inventions are treated from the moment that they are created to the final remuneration;
* checklists that sum up in a nutshell the guidance for making decisions regarding employees’ inventions and R & D co-operations with German universities;
* forms (like “Template for Registering Inventions”) that serve as an extensive briefing for employers and can, in principle, be used worldwide, even for expatriates;
* a synoptic bilingual presentation of the text of the Act and the Official Remuneration Guidelines; and
* a glossary of essential keywords in both English and German".
The bit the IPKat found most interesting -- apart from the glossary -- is Chapter Two, which is entirely dedicated to a chart of "going rates" for inventions in different industrial or commercial sectors. Pages 7-8 also contain an extremely useful flowchart that not only explains the logical structure of the process that leads to a determination of a remuneration award but puts it within a time-frame too.  The book gives little clue to the author's identity but the IPKat wonders if he is not, purr-chance, the same Michael Trimborn who happens to be a partner in the Cologne office of Osborne Clarke. The Kat thinks we should be told.

Bibliographic data: hardback, x + 186 pages. ISBN 9041128263; ISBN 13 9789041128263. Price US$119. Rupture factor: low. Web page here.


The third employee-invention event of the moment is the scholarly activity of one Hans-Christian Hausmann of Berlin, who is currently writing his PhD thesis in that fair city on "Employees' inventions in UK and Germany - a comparative study". While he has plenty of German companies to speak to, he informs the IPKat:
"I have unfortunately no contacts with British enterprises. Can you help me or can you recommend a British enterprise for my studies?The information would have only an academic character and I would treat all information received as being strictly confidential".
This member of the blog team is totally sympathetic since, researching the same topic in 1973-1975, he found it very difficult to find anyone on the industrial side who was willing to speak to him -- and he remembers with great gratitude those who eventually agreed to discuss their employee invention policies with him. If you can help Hans-Christian, please email him here and let him know. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The book is very handy because it provides the only half decent translation of the Directives (which were mentioned at section 11 of the 1957) Act. There are the odd translational difficulties (when I have time I will post these). The main limitation with the book is quite obvious. In late 2009, a new modernising act was passed which has a knock on effect on various sections in the 1957 Act. If anyone can explain the modernsing act to me, I would be grateful.

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