Posted: April 6th, 2020
With its decision no. 1111 on 20th January 2020, the Italian Supreme Court issued a ruling on employees’ inventions, with reference to the right to a fair compensation.
The Italian legislator distinguishes three different situations for employees’ inventions, and provides for different rules on their ownership and rights of the employee for each scenario:
i) the invention is made in the performance of an employment contract which (explicitly) contemplates the performance of inventive activity and provides for a specific remuneration for such activity;
ii) the invention is made in the performance of an employment contract which does not (explicitly) contemplate the performance of inventive activity and/or a remuneration for such activity;
iii) the required conditions set by the first two cases do not apply, but the invention falls within the employer’s field of business.
In the second scenario, the most frequent one, the employer owns the invention (as in the first scenario), but the employee is entitled to a fair compensation (as opposed to the first scenario) . However, the conditions for obtaining such compensation, as well as its calculation method, have been debated for a long time by Italian case law and scholars.
The entire summary can be read here.
A copy of the decision (in Italian) can be read here.
Reported by: Luca Giove and Filippo Biancotto, GR Legal