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Higher Regional Court Dusseldorf Grants a Patent Co-owner a Right to Compensation

In its decision of 7 August 2014 (docket no. I-2 U 91/13 – ‘Garage Roller Door’), the Higher Regional Court Dusseldorf granted a non-using patent co-owner a right to compensation from the other co-owner that uses the patent and profits from this use. The parties are competitors in the field of manufacturing and selling garage roller doors. The Court granted the right on the basis of equity under Sec. 745 (2) German Civil Code, since the following conditions were fulfilled: (1) the co-owner’s contribution (5%) to the patented invention as laid down in claim 1 of the patent was actually used in the other co-owner’s products, (2) an explicit claim to compensation by the contributing c [...]

“You Are Not Alone” Co-inventorship Requirements Further Clarified in Germany

The Federal Court of Justice in Germany held in its recent judgment of January 22, 2013 (court docket: X ZR 70/11) that to claim co-inventorship the contribution of the co-inventor need only be found in parts of the description of the patent and does not have to be found in the claims. The Court stated that an invention manifests itself throughout the entire patent specification which includes the claims, the description with examples, and the figures. Therefore, if a co-inventor’s contribution is included in the description this is sufficient to establish co-inventorship. The claims of the patent only have a limiting function as they exclude embodiments in constellations where embodiments [...]

Gnutti v. Aermec, Court of Appeal Milan (Corte d’Appello Milano), 8 February 2012

A patent can be re-assigned to the legitimate rights holder based on a claim of entitlement under Article 118 Italian IP Code, even when the patented subject matter differs from the invention made by the legitimate rights holder, when such differences do not involve an inventive step.

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Inventions made for hire according to the Court of Appeal of Milan

In a decision of 9 February 2012, the Court of Appeal of Milan decided a case concerning the ownership of the rights over an invention allegedly made in the framework of a work-made-for-hire relationship. The case is interesting as Italian law does not explicitly regulate the case of inventions made for hire. Articles 64 and 65 of the Italian IP code, in fact, only consider cases in which the inventions are made in the framework of an employment relationship. In the case at issue, Gnutti S.p.A., the holder of a European patent and an Italian utility model concerning collectors to be used in air conditioning appliances, filed patent infringement proceedings against Aermec S.p.A. The latter, [...]

N.A. v. N.A., Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof), 19 September 2011

The right to an unpatented invention does not entitle to its exclusive use; it ceases to exist if the invention is made public without patent protection. The right to an unpatented invention encompasses no more than (i) the right to file a patent application and (ii) the right to claim the patent, in case a third party registers the paent in bad faith.

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