Thursday 15 October

Compensation for Employee Inventions

When and where

Date and time

Start: Thursday 15 October 2020, 12:30 PM

End: Thursday 15 October 2020, 01:30 PM

Event Overview

Innovation and an intensive patent portfolio strategy are the strong foundations of competitive businesses.

Dedicated Acts on Employee Inventions regulate Employee Inventions particularly in Germany and in a handful of other European countries. In the remaining countries provisions are taken from patent law and laws regulating employment relationships.

In the UK, for example, only a short section of the Patent Act is concerned with employee inventions, leaving, as the 13-year-long Shanks v Unilever saga has shown, a lot of room for interpretation.

In contrast, the Employee Inventions Act in Germany categorizes employee inventions, regulates the transfer of intellectual property rights between the employer and the employees, and provides a detailed formula to calculate adequate remuneration.

The Employee Inventions act in Germany is the most elaborated, and a reference of its own for many countries adopting legal strategies when ruling about rights of employee inventors.

As the global market shapes the presence of individual companies to span across several countries, a need for a harmonized way to deal with rights regarding employee inventions and remuneration issues has arisen. Seeking a solution to this harmonization need has revealed the inadequacy of existing provisions to account fairly for employee inventions produced by employees across different countries, who are employed by the same company.

We provide a brief overview of the existing provisions in Europe, with emphasis on Germany, and present possible options on the basis of emerging trends in the field.


Fellows, Students


Dr.-Ing. Ernst-Ulrich Wittmann, Withers & Rogers LLP

Dr.-Ing. Ernst-Ulrich Wittmann, Withers & Rogers LLP

Ernst-Ulrich Wittmann is a German and European patent, trademark and design attorney in the Advanced Engineering group at Withers & Rogers in Munich, Germany, specializing in infringement, cancellation and nullity proceeding and employee inventions.He also has significant experience of drafting licensing agreements.He is active in the drafting and prosecution of German and European patent applications in the field of mechanical, process and chemical engineering as well as bio-technology and computer sciences with a special focus on the paper industry.In addition to his extensive legal qualifications and experience, he has researched the science behind recycled fibre-related processes to PhD level.

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