Employee Inventions In The United Kingdom

By Jennifer Pierce

Historically, the United Kingdom has been a jurisdiction where, in relative terms, the law is more favourable to employers than to employees. This is certainly the case in comparison with some mainland European jurisdictions. In respect of ownership of employee inventions, the law is well established, but the law relating to employee compensation was amended in 2004 and the new legislation is effective for inventions applied for on or after 1 January 2005. The seminal cases on employee compensation all apply to the old legislation, which was seen as being too harsh towards employees as it was extremely difficult for an employee to claim compensation successfully. We have yet to see the results of the change in legislation in important cases.


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