Sweden 11 Sep 2015

New agreement on employee inventions

A new agreement has been made on competition clauses and employee inventions. The contracting parties are The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and the Negotiation and Cooperation Council (PTK).

For long, there have been agreements for employees in the private sector that govern employee inventions and the use of competition clauses. In 2014, The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise cancelled the agreement on competition clauses and PTK cancelled the agreement on employee inventions. During the spring of 2015, the parties have since negotiated new contracts, and certain settlements were agreed upon on July 1st, which has resulted in new modern agreements.

In short, the above mentioned agreements entail the following:

The new agreement on competition clauses is applicable to all companies where there are trade secrets, and is not, as before, focused primarily on companies in the industry. The new agreement on competition clauses in employment agreements replaces a previous agreement from 1969.

The reasons for the agreement’s conception is that for some companies, the rules regarding loyalty and confidentiality in collective agreements and general conditions often offer adequate legal protection for trade secrets. In some cases however, it may be necessary for companies to demand loyalty and confidentiality of a worker during a certain time period after the termination of the employment. This can be achieved through competition clauses.

The new agreement on employee inventions includes changes to the previous Inventor’s Agreement (Uppfinnaravtalet) from 1994. The compensation sum has been increased and the time limit for commencing proceedings regarding compensation for an invention now begins on the date when the patent application has been filed.

The reasons for the agreement is that the ownership of the inventions that come out of the use of company resources, shall belong to the company. Employees are, however, entitled to reasonable compensation for their inventions. Questions concerning such compensation arise primarily when an invention has been created due to activities outside of the scope of the employee’s normal duties and/or if the invention is particularly valuable.

The agreements are expected to be adopted by each organization and will then enter into force on December 1st 2015.

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