By lawyer/partner Preben Kløvfjell
Intellectual Property Rights refers to the protection of patents, trademarks, design rights, copyrights and trade secrets. Some of the rights can be secured by registration at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, which gives the company an exclusive right to prevent commercial exploitation of the invention by others, implying that no one can by-pass the efforts and investments you have put into developing the invention without your consent.
If there is an infringement of intellectual property rights, the holder of the rights can demand that the use ceases, as well as claim compensation for his financial loss. In certain cases, punishment are allowed in the form of fines or imprisonment, but these sanctions are rarely used.
A patent ensures exclusive rights in your technical invention. This may be a machine or a drug. This exclusive right entitles the owner of the patent to prevent commercial exploitation of the invention by others. However, the right only applies in the countries where the patent has been registered. This exclusive right can be obtained by registration at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
The application must contain:
- A detailed description of the invention
- Patent claims defining the protection of the invention
- Application form with title, name of applicant, name of inventor, etc.
An invention must be new in order for it to be patentable. Even if you are only applying for a patent in Norway, the invention must be new all over the world. In addition to being new, a patentable invention must have inventive step. This means that the invention must differ significantly from previous technology in that particular field. It cannot be merely the next logical stage in a known technical process, obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the subject
By patenting the invention, you get the exclusive right to exploit the invention commercially for up to 20 years.
A trademark may consist of a name, logo, slogan, jingle, animation or smell. The brand is a tool for identifying you in the market and allows consumers to consciously choose your goods or services over your competitors’ goods and services. By ensuring you have the exclusive rights to exploiting these assets you are in a position to prevent others from using the same or similar trademarks without your authorization.
This exclusive right can be obtained through registration at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office or through extensive use on the Norwegian market.
The application must contain:
- Trademark and related products
- Name of owner of the trademark
- Power of attorney (if you apply on behalf of others)
Your trademark must stand out in the market. To register your trademark it must be unique – it must have distinctive character.
The trademark registration is valid for ten years from the date of application. The registration can then be renewed for ten years at a time.
A design is the shape or appearance of a product or parts of a product. It is often the design or appearance of a product that distinguishes it from other products. A design This may include the use of materials, lines or colour combinations. By registering your design you will have sole right to the appearance of a product and to exploit it commercially.
This exclusive right can be obtained through registration at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
The application should include:
- Illustrations that clearly show the design(s)
- The name of the owner of the design
- Brief explanation of what the product is
A prerequisite for acquiring the exclusive rights to a product by design registration is that the product has a new appearance that is not already known before you apply for registration and meet the requirement for individual character.
The design right applies for periods of 5 years at a time and for a maximum of 25 years.
Copyrights refers to the intellectual ownership of a literary or artistic work including music, a book, a painting or a film. You get copyright automatically when you create an original work.
In order for there to be an original work that can enjoy copyright protection, it must come from a human author, it must be an artistic or literary creation, and the created must have an originality.
You cannot register a copyright in Norway. If you want an exclusive right to exploit your invention, your design or your trademark, you should apply for a patent, design or trademark at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
In some cases, the Copyright Act will provide adequate protection, but it is often an advantage to register your rights and acquire solid documentation, thereby avoiding an expensive court case.
You can inherit and «sell» copyright by entering into an agreement for use.
There are different durations for different intellectual works. Within the EEA area, an intellectual work is protected during the author’s lifetime and 70 years after the author’s death. For performers’ and producers’ rights in sound recordings, the term of protection is 70 years after the year in which the recording was released or published. The term of protection for other related rights is, as a general rule, 50 years.
Trade secrets can be described as knowledge that belongs to a company internally. This can be, for example, details of procedures that have been developed through experience related to, for example, the company’s production. It is important to distinguish such trade secrets from general knowledge and experience.
The employer should ensure the protection of trade secrets through contractual regulations, either included in the employment contract or in addition to this.
The law stipulates several measures to prevent, correct or repair damage that occurs in the event of unlawful interference. These measures may be a prohibition against continuing or repeating the intervention, orders to destroy documents and objects or handing them over to the holder, payment of compensation or consideration for the intervention and penalties in the form of fines or imprisonment.
Instead of a ban on continuing or repeating the intervention and an order to destroy documents and objects or handing it over to the holder, the district court may instead issue a ruling that the intruder is given permission to continue using the trade secret against payment of remuneration to the holder and on appropriate terms.
Our lawyers has extensive experience in the field of IP. Feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or +47 900 85 188