Notification of the Invention and Application for a Patent
Employee inventions are regulated by the Act on Right in Employee Inventions and university research inventions by the Act on Right in University Inventions. The said acts are applicable to patentable inventions.
As a general rule, the inventors have an equal right to the invention as other inventors but the employer has a right to gain different rights to the invention against fair compensation.
An employee who makes an invention shall notify the employer of it in writing without delay. An employer shall, no later than within four months from his/her receipt of the notification, notify the employee in writing whether or not he/she will claim a specified right in the invention.
During the four months following the receipt of the notification, the employee may not dispose of an invention without his/her employer’s permission in writing or make any disclosure which would render the invention public or would enable it to be used for the benefit of another person. It is forbidden to, e.g. transfer the invention or give a license right to it before the abovementioned term has expired, unless the employer gives his/her consent.
After the notification has been made in accordance with section 5, the employee may, however, apply for a patent for the invention in Finland. In this case he may not file the application with the patent authority before one month has elapsed from the day he notified the employer in writing of his intention to apply for a patent for the invention.
An employer’s rights to an invention are more extensive the closer the connection between the invention and the employment relationship is. Depending on the nature of the invention, an employer may obtain all rights to it, a right to make use of the invention or a right to agree upon the use of the invention. For further information see [Division of Employee Works According to the Employer’s Rights].
An employer must pay its employee a reasonable compensation for obtaining rights to an invention. Important factors in determining the fairness of the compensation are the value of the invention, the extent of the employer’s rights and other factors of the employment relationship that contributed to the invention. The employee cannot give up his/her right beforehand by signing an agreement. Although it is not possible to validly agree upon the amount of compensation payable for inventions in advance, it is possible to agree the basis for determining the compensation by e.g. drafting regulations for employee inventions. The employee compensation is handled more closely in section [Compensation of the Employee Works].