Who is the first owner of each of these intellectual property rights and is this different for rights created in the course of employment or under a commission?

Intellectual Property

Bulgaria Small Flag Bulgaria

Invention and utility model: The person, who has created an invention or utility model, shall be its inventor. An invention shall be official if it is made while fulfilling one's official obligations stemming from a labour or other contract of the inventor, except where the contract provides otherwise. Thus, the he right to patent an invention created while fulfilling labour contract or other contract shall belong to the employer if he files an application within three months of receiving the notification of the invention from the inventor.

Trademarks: The right to registration shall belong to the first applicant.

Geographic names: The right to declaring shall belong to each person implementing production activity at the defined geographic place and the commodity produced complies with the established qualities and peculiarities. The registered geographic name shall be possible to be used only by a person entered as its user.

Copyright: Author shall be the natural person whose creative endeavours have resulted in the creation of a literary, artistic or scientific work. Until proved otherwise author of the work shall be considered to be the person whose name or other identifying mark is indicated on the original, copies or specimen of the work and/or on their packing in the usual manner.

Copyright in a work created by two or more persons shall belong to them jointly irrespective of whether the work constitutes one indivisible entity or consists of separate parts each having individual significance.

Copyright in translation or adaptation shall belong to the person who has made it without prejudice to the rights of the author of the original work.

Copyright in periodicals and encyclopaedias shall belong to the natural or legal person responsible for the creation and publication of the work. Copyright in the individual components included in such work, having the nature of a literary, artistic or scientific work, shall belong to their individual authors.

Copyright in collections, anthologies, bibliographies, databases, etc. shall belong to the person who has collected or arranged the works and/or material contained therein, unless otherwise agreed in a contract. Copyright in the individual parts included in such work, which themselves constitute literary, artistic or scientific works, shall belong to their authors.

Copyright in works of fine art and architecture shall belong to the person who has created those works also in case the ownership of the work belongs to another person.

Copyright in works of fine art or photography constituting a portrait of other person shall belong to the author of the work.

Unless agreed otherwise, copyright in computer programmes and databases developed in employment relationship shall belong to the employer.

Related rights: The related rights belong to the performer, whereas the Performer shall be a person who presents, sings, plays, dances, declaims, acts, directs, conducts, comments, dubs roles or performs in other manner a work, circus or variety performance, puppet show or a folklore work.

Rights of the producers of phonograms belong to the natural or legal person who organises the first recording and provides its financing.

Rights of the film producers belong to the producer of the initial recording of the film or another audio-visual work.

Rights of radio and television organisations belong to the radio and television organisation which has carried out the initial broadcasting or transmission of its own programme.

Rights of the makers of databases belong to the maker of the database, who is the natural or legal person, who has taken the initiative and the risk to invest in collecting, verifying or using the contents of a database, if this investment is significant in qualitative or quantitative respect.

The person that created design shall have the right to authorship. When the design has been created by two or more persons the right to ownership occurs for all the persons and they shall be co-authors. Co-authors shall not be the persons who have rendered only technical, material or other assistance to the author.

Authorship of a variety or a breed shall be established with their creation, discovery and cultivation. The local (autochthonous) livestock breeds and the established breeds within the state according to Annex shall be ownership of the Bulgarian state. A person, who has created or discovered and cultivated a variety or a breed, is the author (creator) of this variety or breed. When several persons have created or discovered and cultivated a variety or a breed jointly, they are joint authors of the variety or breed.

Right over a topology belong to the person who created the topology and applied for registration at the Patent department. The topology shall be official when it has been created in implementation of obligations in employment legal relation or as order unless among the parties other has been agreed in writing.

Malaysia Small Flag Malaysia

Patents:
The person whose name is recorded in the Register of Patents as the grantee of a patent.

The right to a patent for an invention which is made in the performance of a contract of employment or in the execution of a commissioned work is deemed to accrue to the employer or the person who commissioned the work, with exceptions.

Trademark:
The first user of the trade mark in the course of trade is the owner of a trade mark.

Geographical indication:
Jointly to the producers carrying on their activity in the geographical area specified in the Register.

Copyright:
The presumption is that copyright will vest initially in the author of the work.

Copyright is deemed to be transferred to the person who commissioned the work or the author’s employer when a work is commissioned by a person under a contract of service or apprenticeship or created in the course of the author’s employment as soon as it comes into existence, without any formalities.

Industrial design:
The person registered as the owner in the Register of Industrial Designs.

Where an industrial design is created in pursuance of a commission for money or money’s worth or is created by an employee in the course of his employment, the person commissioning the industrial design or the employer is the original owner of the industrial design, however, this is subject to any agreement to the contrary between the parties.

Belgium Small Flag Belgium

(a) Inventions

Patents

Generally the first owner of a patent is the inventor or his successor in title (Art. XI.9 CEL). There are no statutory provisions in Belgium governing the ownership of patents for inventions made by employees. This can be freely negotiated in the employment contract. When no provisions have been made in the contract, the court must evaluate whether the invention constitutes a service invention, dependent invention or free invention. Free inventions are made independently from the employment context and belong to the inventor. Service inventions are made as a result of the assignment of the employee in the normal performance of his employment contract and belong to the employer. Dependent inventions are not made in performance of the employment contract, but do relate, in some way or another, to the employer or his activity. For these inventions there is no consensus and ownership is determined on a case by case basis.

(b) Brands

Trademarks and collective marks

The first owner of the trademark registration is the first applicant (Art. 2.8 BCIP).

(c) Other creations, technology and proprietary interests

Copyright

The natural person who has created the work is considered to be the initial owner of the copyright. There is a presumption in favour of the person whose name or initials are mentioned on the work (Art. XI.170 CEL). When the work is anonymous, the publisher is presumed to be the author in respect of third parties. In case of works created in an employment context, the employee remains the author of the work, unless the rights are specifically transferred to the employer by contract. The same goes for commissioned works (Art. XI.167 §3 CEL). The situation is different for software made in the context of an employment agreement. Here, only the employer is considered to be the owner of the proprietary rights of the software, unless specifically specified otherwise by contract (Art. XI.296 CEL).

Neighbouring rights

The first owners of the neighbouring rights are the performer, producer of phonograms or films, or broadcaster, each in respect of their own specific right.

Database rights

The producer of the database is considered to be the first owner of the sui generis database rights (Art. XI.306 CEL).

Design rights

The first owner is the applicant for the design registration. Normally, this will be the designer. However, in the event that the applicant and designer are different persons, the actual designer may claim the right to the Benelux application or registration within a period of 5 years following publication of the registration of filing (Art. 3.7 BCIP). The ownership of designs developed by an employee in the execution of his duties shall belong to the employer, unless otherwise agreed (Art. 3.8 §1 BCIP). For designs created on commission, the commissioning party shall, unless specified otherwise, be deemed to be the designer, provided that the commission was given with a view to commercial or industrial use of the product in which the design is incorporated (Art. 3.8 §2 BCIP).

Topographies of semiconductors

The right to the topography of semiconductors belongs to the creator of the topography (Art. XI.319 CEL). When created by an employee in the performance of his employment agreement, the employer is presumed to be the creator, unless specified otherwise. When created on commission, the commissioning party is presumed to be the creator, unless specified otherwise (Art. XI.322 CEL).

Plant variety rights

The first owner of the plant variety right is the person who has cultivated the plant variety, or who has discovered or developed it, or his successor in title. When a new variety has been cultivated, discovered or developed by an employee in performance of his employment contract, the right belongs to the employer, unless otherwise agreed (Art. XI.111 CEL).

Singapore Small Flag Singapore

Copyright – Generally, the person who created the work (i.e. the author) owns the copyright in the work. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Some exceptions are:

Employment: If the work is created by an employee pursuant to the terms of his employment, the employer owns the copyright in the work.

Special situation for newspaper/magazine/periodical employees: Where an employee of a newspaper, magazine or periodical creates a literary, dramatic or artistic work pursuant to the terms of his employment and for the purpose of publication in a newspaper, magazine or periodical, the proprietor of the newspaper, magazine or periodical owns the copyright in respect of publication in or reproduction for the purpose of publication in any newspaper, magazine or periodical. The employee owns the remaining rights that make up the copyright bundle of exclusive rights.

Commissioning: If a portrait/photograph/engraving is commissioned by another party, the commissioner owns the copyright in the work. If the portrait/photograph/engraving is required for a particular purpose, this purpose must be communicated to the commissioned party. While the commissioner is the copyright owner, the commissioned party has the right to stop others from doing any act comprised in the copyright, unless such act is done for the particular purpose for which the portrait/photograph/engraving is created.

For other types of commissioned works: Ownership belongs to the commissioned party, unless the commissioner and commissioned party otherwise agree.

Registered designs – The designer of the design. If the rights are created in the course of employment or under a commission, then the employer or commissioning party will own the rights in question.

Geographical indications – N.A.

Layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits – Where the layout-design is not created in pursuance of a commission or in the course of employment, the creator of a layout-design is the owner. Where the layout-design is created in pursuance of a commission, the person who commissioned the layout-design is the owner. Where the layout-design is not created in pursuance of a commission but is created by an employee in the course of his employment, the employer is the owner.

Patents – The inventor(s). However, if the rights are created in the course of employment (i.e. normal duties of the employee or specifically assigned to him or has a special obligation to further employer's interests), the employer would be the owner of the invention. Where an invention is created in pursuance of a commission without more, the owner of the invention would be the inventor rather than the commissioning party.

Plant varieties – The breeder of the plant variety. Where the plant variety was bred, or discovered and developed, by the employee, the employer would be the breeder and thus owner. If instead pursuant to a commission without more, the breeder would be the person who bred the plant variety rather than the commissioning party.

Trade marks – The authorised user of the mark in relation to the particular goods or services, or the party that has the bona fide intention to use the mark in relation to the particular goods or services, in the course of trade.

Trade secrets/know-how – The creator of the rights in question. The employer and commissioning party would have no automatic ownership over the rights.

France Small Flag France

Patents

The inventor or his successor in title (IPC art. L.611-6).

However, if the invention is made by an employee in connection with his employment contract involving an inventive mission, the right to the patent belongs to the employer (IPC art. L.611-7 section 1).

The invention made by an employee in connection with his employment contract without inventive mission can be assigned to the employer should the invention falls within the employer field of activity or if the employee used technical means and knowledge provided by the employee.

For any other invention, the right to the patent belongs to the employee (IPC art. L.611-7 section 2).

Trademarks

The applicant (IPC art. L.712-1).

Plant varieties

The applicant (IPC art. L.623-4).

Semiconductors

The creator or his successor in title (IPC art. L.622-3).

Designs

The creator or his successor in title (IPC art. L.511-9).

Copyright

The author of the work who is deemed to be the person under whose name the work has been disclosed (IPC art. L.113-1).

Databases

The producer of the database (IPC art. L.342-1).

Software created by an employee

The employer (IPC art. L.113-9).

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

R: Usually, the owner(s) is/are the applicant(s). In what Regards to patents, utility models, topographies of semiconductor products and designs developed under an employment agreement (or similar) the right to register belongs to the company.

India Small Flag India

Patents:
The inventor or its assignee are the first owner(s) of the patent rights.

Unless, there is a formal employment agreement to this effect, all rights arising out of an invention vests with the employee inventor and an employer has to execute an assignment with the employee to acquire rights to an invention.

Trade marks; Collective Marks and Certification Marks:
Generally, the person who uses or controls the use of the mark, and controls the nature and quality of the goods to which it is affixed, or the services for which it is used, is the owner of the mark. As per the Trade Marks law, the Applicant/registered proprietor of a Trade mark; Collective Mark or Certification Mark shall be considered the owner of the Trade mark; Collective Mark or Certification Mark.

Domain name:
The legal owner of a domain name is the person and/or organization listed as the domain’s registrant or owner contact.

Copyright:
The author of a work is the owner of copyright therein.

In case the author is employed by newspaper, magazine etc. under a contract of service, the proprietor will be the first owner in the absence of an agreement to the contrary in the case of a literary, dramatic or artistic work.

Where a photograph is taken, or a painting or portrait drawn for a valuable consideration at the instance of person, such person is the first owner.

Where any address or speech is delivered in public, the person delivering is the first owner and where it is delivered on behalf of another person such other person is the first owner.

In case of Government work, Government shall be the first owner and in case of work made or published by or under any public undertaking, it shall be the first owner.

Designs:
The Applicant/registered proprietor of a Design shall be considered the owner of the Design.

Greece Small Flag Greece

In the case of patents, utility models and registered design rights, inventions created by an employee, in the course of an employment contract, belong to the employee who is, of course, free to assign its rights via an assignment contract. However, when the invention is the object of an R&D employment contract, the employer is the initial owner vest with full rights. If the invention is created during an employment contract with means, resources and information provided by the employer (dependent invention), 40% of the patent rights belong to the employer and 60% to the employee. The employer has a priority right to exploit the invention against compensation to the employee - inventor, which should be proportional to the economic value of the invention and the profits it brings to the employer.

  • In the case of semiconductor topography rights, the employer is the first owner of the rights, both in case of work made for hire and employee contract.
  • For copyright, as a general rule, the employee is the initial owner of both proprietary and moral rights but proprietary rights over copyright created in the course of an employment contract are automatically assigned to the employer, unless otherwise agreed. Moral rights subsist with the employee, although in practice such rights will be extremely limited. Automatic assignment will not extend to forms of exploitation which were unknown at the time of creation of the relevant work.

For work made for hire, the contractor will also be the initial owner, but its rights in and to the work shall pass on to the client, as a matter of contractual assignment. The contractor will still retain moral rights, although in practice such rights will be extremely limited.

Japan Small Flag Japan

Previously, for patents, utility model rights and design rights, the right to obtain the intellectual property rights created by an employee in the course of employment was held by the employee without exception, and the employer only had a non-exclusive licence of the right. However, the Patent Act, the Utility Model Act and the Design Act (amended in May 2015) have made it possible for employers to reserve, from the outset, the right to obtain the IP rights in employee inventions if they so provide in employment contracts, work rules, or any other stipulations in advance.

Copyright in a work created by an employee in the course of employment vests in the employer unless otherwise stipulated by contract, work rules, or similar instruments.

Mexico Small Flag Mexico

Inventions

IP right

First owner?


Different for rights created in the course of
employment or under a commission?

Patents

Inventor

According to article 14 of the Industrial Property Law, the
provisions of the Mexican Labour Law (mainly: article 163),
shall be applied when it comes to inventions made by a
person subject to an employment relationship.

Therefore, under the scope of article 163 of the Mexican
Labour Law, the ownership of a given invention is subject
to the following rules: (i) in any case, the inventor shall
be identified as the author of the relevant invention; (ii)
if the services provided by the employee are related to
research activities, the invention’s ownership as well as
the exploitation right shall be held by the employer; and
(iii) if nothing is agreed between the parties, the
ownership of the invention will be held by the inventor,
but the employer shall have a preferential right –in equal circumstances- to obtain the ownership
as well as the exclusive right to use the relevant
invention.

Utility models

Inventor

Industrial designs

Inventor

Integrated circuits

Inventor

Brands

IP right

First owner?


Different for rights created in the course of
employment or under a commission?

Trademarks

Applicant

If the trademark / trade name / slogan was created during
the course of employment of under commission then the owner
will be the employer.

Trade names

Applicant

Slogans

Applicant

Appellations of Origin

The Mexican Government

N/A

Copyright and other rights

IP right

First owner?


Different for rights created in the course of
employment or under a commission?

Copyright

Author

Article 84 of the Federal Law on Copyright (FLC) provides
that in case of a work made in the course of an employment
relationship (under a written individual employment
contract), the rules that should be applied concerning the
ownership of rights are the following:

a) If there is an intellectual property clause, the same
should be complied.

Some individual employment contracts include an
intellectual property clause, in which the employer states
that the copyright of works created by employees will
completely belong to the employer.

b) If there is no clause or agreement about the ownership
of a copyright, the FLC provides that the rights will be
owned by both the employer and the employee (50% each).

Furthermore, only the employer is entitled to disclose the
work without the employee´s authorization.

c) If there is not a written contract, the ownership of
rights will belong to the employee.

On the other hand, when it comes to Commissions, unless
agreed otherwise, the natural person or legal entity, which
commissions a party to create a given work, shall have the
ownership of the exploitation rights. If there is not a
written contract, the ownership of rights will belong to
the employee.

Related rights: artist, performers and executors

Artist, performers and executors

No, they are not different.

Related rights: book publishers

Book publishers

No, they are not different.

Related rights: phonogram producers

Phonogram producers

No, they are not different.

Related rights: video producers

Video producers

No, they are not different.

Related rights: broadcasting organizations

Broadcasting organizations

No, they are not different.

Reservation of rights

Applicant

If the reservation of rights was created during the course
of employment of under commission then the owner will be
the employer.

Plant varieties

Applicant

If the reservation of rights was created during the course
of employment of under commission then the owner will be
the employer.

China Small Flag China

Generally, the creator is the first owner of the relevant IP rights. However, the default position is that employers are the first owner of patents (unless specified otherwise) and copyright works created in the course of employment provided they were created primarily using the employer's resources as part of the employee's normal duties.

The first owner of inventions/works created under commission is the entity/person who created it, unless the contract for commission states otherwise. The first owner of trademarks is the first to file an application at the China Trademark Office (CTMO).

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

In general, the first owner of an intellectual property right is the inventor, designer or author who created the work.

If the work was created by an employee in the course of the employee's employment, the employer is usually the first owner of the right, unless the work was created outside of the normal duties of the employee's employment (in which case the employee remains the owner).

If a work is created under a commission, the first owner is the inventor, designer or author, unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

The first owner of a registered trade mark is the named applicant.

South Africa Small Flag South Africa

Patents

An inventor is the first owner of a patent right. South African patent law does not specifically provide for an automatic transfer of patent rights to an employer in the case of an employee who made the invention in the course and scope of their employment. Where no written contract of employment exists or where the contract of employment does not deal expressly with this question, the common law applies. Although the law on this point is not very clear, under certain circumstances the common law may provide that the employer is entitled to the beneficial ownership of the employee's invention.

However, an employer is prevented from including provisions in an employment contract which require transfer of patent rights in respect of an invention not made in the course and scope of their employment and for an invention made one year after the termination of the employment contract.

Designs

An author is the first owner of a design right. The regulations of the Designs Act provides that, only the proprietor of a design may apply for the registration of the design, the proprietor being:

  1. the author of the design;
  2. where the author of the design executes the work for another person, the other person for whom the work is so executed;
  3. where a person, or his employee acting in the course of his employment, makes a design for another person in terms of an agreement, such other person; or
  4. where the ownership in the design has passed to any other person, such other person.

Furthermore, an employer is prevented from including provisions in an employment contract which require transfer of design rights in respect of a design not made in the course and scope of their employment and for a design made one year after the termination of the employment contract.

Plant Breeders’ Rights

The breeder. Yes. The Act defines a breeder as follows:

“'breeder' in relation to a variety referred to in section 2, means-

(a) the person who bred, or discovered and developed, the variety;

(b) the employer of the person referred to in paragraph (a), if that person is an employee whose duties are such that the variety was bred, or discovered and developed, in the performance of such duties; or

(c) the successor in title of the person referred to in paragraph (a) or the employer referred to in paragraph (b);”

Trade Marks

The owner of a registered trade mark is the proprietor as recorded on the trade marks register. The owner of a common law trade mark is the person or entity which uses the trade mark to the extent that it is exclusively associated with that person or entity.

Copyright

The author of a work is the owner of the copyright, or in the case of a work of joint authorship, the co-authors of the work.

Where a literary or artistic work is made by an author in the course of his employment by the proprietor of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical under a contract of service or apprenticeship, and is so made for the purpose of publication in a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, the said proprietor shall be the owner of the copyright in the work in so far as the copyright relates to publication of the work in any newspaper, magazine or similar periodical or to reproduction of the work for the purpose of it being so published.

Where a person commissions the taking of a photograph, the painting or drawing of a portrait, the making of a gravure, the making of a cinematograph film or the making of a sound recording and pays or agrees to pay for it in money or money’s worth, and the work is made in pursuance of that commission, such person shall be the owner of any copyright subsisting therein.

Where a work is made in the course of the author’s employment by another person under a contract of service or apprenticeship, that other person shall be the owner of any copyright
subsisting in the work.

UAE Small Flag UAE

Generally, the creator is the first owner of each of the relevant IP rights, with copyright being a particular exception to this.

The default position is that employers and commissioners are the first owner of patents, designs and utility certificates (unless otherwise agreed). UAE law allows for additional compensation to be paid to the inventor(s)/creators(s) if the economic value of the patent/design/utility model is greater than expected.

Copyrights vests in the author of the work until, or unless, the copyright is assigned in writing. This is also the case for employee created rights, or commissioned works. Ownership of copyrights in collective works vests in the director of the creation of the work. Moral rights rest with the author of the works and cannot be waived. It is possible for an author to agree not to exercise moral rights.

Neighbouring rights may be owned by performers in their performances, producers of sound recordings in their first recording of such sounds/performances, and broadcasting organizations in their broadcasts of programs and recordings.

The owner of a trade mark is the person who obtains the registration of the mark in the UAE, though in certain circumstances this can be challenged through prior use or international rights.

Plant variety and plant breeder rights belong to the person who bred, discovered or developed the new plant variety.

Philippines Small Flag Philippines

The right to a patent belongs to the inventor, his heirs, or assigns. If two (2) or more persons jointly made an invention, the right to a patent shall belong to them jointly. If two (2) or more persons made the invention separately and independently of each other, the right to the patent shall belong to the person who first filed an application for the invention. If the invention is created pursuant to a commission, the person who commissions the work shall own the patent, unless otherwise provided in the contract. If the invention was created in the course of employment, the patent shall belong to the employee if the inventive activity was not part of his regular duties even if he uses the time, facilities, and materials of the employer, and to the employer if the invention is a result of the performance of the employee’s regular duties unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

The same rules above apply to utility models, industrial designs, and layout designs of integrated circuits.

The rights over a trademark are acquired by one who registers the trademark. The rights in a mark shall be acquired through a valid registration.

The rights over a copyright are conferred upon creation. The copyright shall belong to the author of the work. In case of works of joint authorship and in the absence of agreement, their rights shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. If, however, a work of joint authorship can be used separately and the author of each part can be identified, the authors shall own their separate parts. In case the work is created in the course of employment, the copyright shall belong to the employee if the creation of the work is not part of his regular duties and to the employer if the work is a result of the performance of his regular duties. In case of work done under commission, the person who commissioned the work shall have ownership of the work but the copyright thereto shall remain with the creator, unless there is a written stipulation to the contrary.

United States Small Flag United States

(a) Patents
The first owner of a U.S. patent (utlilty, design or plant) is the inventor. This is not different if the patented innovation was created in the course of employment or under a commission unless a written agreement to the contrary is executed by the inventor. An employer, in certain circumstances, may have a so-called “shop right” which provides an implied license for the employer to use the patented invention but this shop right does not provide ownership of the innovation to the employer.

(b) Trademarks
The first owner of a U.S. trademark is the entity that uses the trademark in interstate or international commerce. The owner of a U.S. trademark registration is the entity that obtains the registration from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

(c) Copyright
The first owner of a copyright in the U.S. is the author of the work, unless the work was a “work made for hire” as defined in 17 U.S.C. § 101.

(d) Trade Secret
Trade secrets are initially owned by the entity that holds the information and takes reasonable steps to maintain its secrecy.

Germany Small Flag Germany

a) Patents/Utility models
The first owner is the inventor. However, German law distinguishes between the "right to the invention", the "right to the patent" and the "right conferred by the patent". The right to the patent (being a monetary, proprietary right) may differ from the right to the invention and may be assigned to a third party. The inventor has to be named on the application, but the applicant can be a different party.

For employee inventors, the Act on employee inventions applies and provides for an assumption that the employer has claimed the invention if the employer has not released the invention within four months following its notification by the employee.

b) Confidential information
Trade secrets are recognized as property assets under the Act against unfair competition. However they are not protected as proprietary rights or similar rights. Therefore there is no "fist owner".

c) Trade marks and business names
The first owner of a registered individual or collective trademark is the applicant in whose name the trade mark is registered. For unregistered trademarks, the first owner is the person in whose favour the recognition or the notoriety is acquired.

The first owner of the right to a company name is the owner of the respective business. For work titles it is the author of the work and anyone who legally uses the title for the work, e.g. the publisher.

d) Supplementary protection of creative property under competition law
Supplementary protection of creative property under competition law is not an intellectual property right per se and has no "first owner".

e) Registered designs
The first owner of a registered design is the applicant in whose favour the design is registered.

Where a design was created by an employee in the execution of his duties or following the instructions given by his employer, the right in the design shall belong to the employer, unless otherwise provided by contract.

f) Copyright and database rights
For copyright, the first owner of the right is the author of the work. This also applies to software developed by employees, but an automatic license is granted to the employer, see below. For database rights, it is the producer of the database.

Where an author has created the work in the fulfilment of obligations resulting from an employment or service relationship, the copyright is with the author, unless otherwise provided in accordance with the terms or nature of the employment relationship.

Where a computer program is created by an employee in the execution of his duties or following the instructions of his employer, the employer exclusively shall be entitled (licensed) to exercise all economic rights in the computer program, unless otherwise agreed.

g) Semiconductor topography rights
The right to apply for the registration of a semiconductor topography right vests in the creator, Section 2(1) German Semiconductor Protection Act. According to Section 3(2) No. 4 German Semiconductor Protection Act, the application must include information on the entitlement of the applicant with respect to Section 2 German Semiconductor Protection Act.
Where a topography was created by an employee in the execution of his duties or following the instructions given by his employer, the right in the topography shall belong to the employer, unless otherwise provided by contract.

h) Plant variety right
The first owner of a plant variety right is the applicant in whose favour the plant variety is registered. However the same principles as for patens, utility models and registered designs apply, Section 8, 9 Act on the Protection of Plant Varieties.

Switzerland Small Flag Switzerland

In general, the first owner is the person creating the intellectual property right. In the absence of a specific agreement, patentable inventions and designs created by the employee in performing his employment activity and contractual duties belong to the employer. For inventions and designs created under commission, a specific agreement is required. Copyright vests in the natural person creating the work and thus, for rights created in the course of employment or under a commission a specific assignment agreement is required. With respect to computer programs, however, the Swiss Copyright Act sets forth that computer programs created by the employee in performing his employment activity and contractual duties, the employer is exclusively entitled to exercise the copyright arising from that software program. This does not apply to software programs created under commission. In any event, a written agreement is always advisable. In the case of trademarks and domain names ownership is established by registration and an employer or commissioner can file the trade mark or domain name devised by an employee or under commission in its own name. If there are elements in the trademark or the domain name that are subject to copyright, such copyright might belong to the employee or person working under commission as outlined above.

Ukraine Small Flag Ukraine

As regards patents for inventions and utility models, the first owner is inventor or his legal successor. The employer has a right to obtain a patent provided that an invention (utility model) was created in connection with official duties performance or under a commission. In this case during four months from the date of the inventor’s notification about creation of an invention (utility model) an employer must file an application within UA PTO (or transfer the right to receive a patent (utility model) to another person) or preserve the information regarding a technical solution as confidential information. If an employer does not comply with this requirement during mentioned period, the right to obtain a patent (utility model) begins to belong to an inventor or his legal successor.

As regards semiconductor topography the first owner is an author or his legal successor. The employer has a right to register in a topography provided that the topography was created in connection with official duties performance or under a commission, unless otherwise is agreed in writing (e.g. employment agreement).
As regards trademarks the first owner is either a natural person or a legal entity, that filed application irrespective of conditions for creation of a mark.

As regards industrial design, the first owner is author or his legal successor. The employer has a right to obtain a design protection provided that design was created in connection with official duties performance or under a commission, unless otherwise is agreed in writing (e.g. employment agreement).

As regards copyright, the first owner is the author. Economic rights to a work created by an employee or under a commission belong to the author and the employer jointly, unless otherwise is agreed in writing (e.g. employment agreement).

As regards plant variety, its first owner is the author. Economic rights to a plant variety created by an employee or under a commission belong to the author and the employer jointly, unless otherwise is agreed in writing (e.g. employment agreement).

As regards designations of origin and geographical indications, the first owner is the applicant or group of applicants that have filed the application.

The first owner of a trade name is a business entity (legal person or registered private entrepreneur) who has first started applying the name in its business operations.

Turkey Small Flag Turkey

In principle, the first owner of intellectual property rights is the applicant.

In the event that the application is not filed by the real owner of the application, the real owner of the rights may request from the court transfer of ownership or recognition as the owner of the rights within three years as from the announcement of the application for or registration of the relevant right. In that case, the court order may be registered before the registry and published in the Bulletin upon request. As a rule, the employer is the owner of the designs and inventions made by employees in the course of their tasks in an enterprise (or a public institution for inventions) or during the business relationship mainly based on the experience and operations of the enterprise (or public administration).

Apart from those provided above, the rights to designs created by employees by benefiting from the know-how and tools falling under the scope of the general business of the enterprise shall be possessed by the employer upon request while the employee shall be entitled to claim for a consideration for the design.

In that respect, the inventions made by an employee during the business relationship is classified into two which are service invention and free invention. The employee shall be obliged to inform the employer immediately of any service invention in writing provided that the service invention shall turn into a free invention if the employer does not claim any right, partially or wholly, on the relevant service invention in writing within four (4) months as from receiving the relevant notification or else notifies the employee that it shall not claim any right in that regard. In case of demand of full rights, all the rights on the relevant invention shall be transferred to the employer. If, on the other hand, partial rights are demanded, the service invention shall be classified as free invention but the employer shall be able to make use of the invention based on the partial rights granted. Free inventions belong to employees as a general rule. Apart from the conditions where free invention cannot be considered inside the business field of the employer, employees shall be obliged to inform the employer immediately of the free inventions, if any, made during the business relationship.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

(a) Patent
There is a presumption of the employee’s right to his or her invention. A few exceptions, where such right automatically vests with the employer, are however stipulated in the Employees’ Invention Act. In accordance herewith, an employer shall be entitled to succeed the employee’s interest in relation to a “Research Invention” which has arisen primarily as a result of the employee’s primary work duties. The employer shall be entitled to acquire a right to use an invention without pediment if the use of such invention, which has arisen in an employment context other than within the employee’s primary work duties, falls within the employer’s scope of business activity. The employer further has a right of priority over other parties to acquire the desired right to the invention through an agreement with the employee, has the invention arisen outside the context of employment but the use thereof falls within the employer’s scope of business.

(b) Protection of Topographies for Semiconductor Products
The owner of an exclusive right to a topography is the natural person who created the topography, provided that he or she is a national of, or has his habitual residence in, a state included in the European Economic Area (or a state mentioned under the Regulation (1993:1434) on the application in relation to other states of the act on the protection of circuit patterns for semiconductor products). If however the creator is an employee and the typography was created in the course of the employment and otherwise have not been agreed, a right to a typography shall vest with the employer.

(c) Right to Trademarks
Exclusive right to a Trademark vests with the natural or legal person whom have established or had the Trademark registered at the PRO.

(d) Right to Trade Names
Exclusive right to a Trade Name vests with the proprietor of the company to which the Trade Name belongs.

(e) Copyright
Copyright to a Work automatically vests with the author. Where a Work has two or more authors, whose contributions do not constitute independent works, the Copyright is owned by the authors jointly.

Copyright of employees is unregulated. However, a general rule is that a copyright arisen during an employment which valid for an indefinite term, does not automatically transfer to the employer to an extent beyond what can be considered necessary at the time of the creation with regards to the company’s normal course of business.

(f) Design Protection
Exclusive right to a Design vests with the person who has created the Design, or the Designer’s successor.

(g) Plant Variety Rights
See above under (a) Patent.

Spain Small Flag Spain

PATENTS (AND UTILITY MODELS):
The right to an invention belongs to the inventor, o his/her successor in title.

If the invention is conceived by an employee in the course of the labour relation (during the term of his/her contract, work or service with a company and when the invention is the result of research that is explicitly or implicitly the object of the contract), the employer retains title over the invention. An employee employed as an inventor has no right to additional remuneration for his/her achievement, except where his/her personal contribution to the invention and its importance to the company obviously goes beyond the explicit or implicit terms of his contract or work.

There is a rebuttable presumption in favor of the employer to claim inventions applied for registration by the employee within a year following expiry of the employment or service relationship.

TRADEMARKS:
The first owner of a registered trademark is the named applicant.

Spanish Trademark law does not provide who owns a trademark. However, the employer can claim ownership of a trademark registered by an employee or a commissioner in breach of contract before civil courts.

DESIGNS:
The right to register a design belongs to the author or his successor in title.

However, when the design has been developed by an employee in the execution of his duties or following the instructions of the employer or under a service relationship, the right to register the design shall correspond to the employer or the contractual party that commissioned the realization of the design, unless otherwise specified in the contract.

COPYRIGHTS:
The right over a copyright belongs to the authors of the copyrightable work.

The assignment to the employer of the exploitation rights in a work created through a work relationship is governed by the terms agreed in the contract. In the absence of an agreement, it is presumed that the exploitation rights have been granted exclusively and with the scope necessary for the exercise of the employer’s regular activity at the time of delivery of the work made through the work relationship.

Israel Small Flag Israel

Patent
The first owner of an invention is the inventor himself or persons who derive title under him, being entitled to the invention by virtue of law, by transfer, or by agreement.

A patent owner is the person recorded in the Register as the person to whom a patent was granted or to whom ownership of a patent has passed.

Additionally, the Israeli Law also requires an employee to assign his or her rights to the employer for an invention that was envisaged as a consequence of employee’s service and during the period of employee’s service.

The Israeli Patent Act:

132.—(a) An invention by an employee, arrived at in consequence of his service and during the period of his service (hereafter: service invention) shall, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary between him and his employer, become the employer’s property, unless the employer relinquishes the invention within six months after the day on which notification under section 131 was delivered to him.

(b) If, in his notification under section 131, the employee stated that—in the absence of a contrary reply from the employer within six months after delivery of the employee’s notification—the invention will become the employee’s property, and if the employer made no contrary aforesaid reply, then the invention shall not become the employer’s property.

Design
The applicant.

Trademark
The owner of a trademark is the entity and/or individual in the name of which the trademark is applied-for or registered. Trademark rights may also be obtained through use in which case the owner is the entity and/or individual that uses the mark.

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

Brazil follows the first-to-file regime. That is, the first owner of the intellectual property right is generally the first person to file it before the BPTO.

The Brazilian IP Law states that an inventor has the right to obtain patent protection, and further clarifies that the applicant is presumed to be legitimately entitled to obtain the patent, also applicable for industrial designs.

Regarding trademarks, the general rule is that the first owner is the applicant that firstly applied for the protection at the BPTO.

As a member of the Paris Convention, the Brazilian IP law also states that applicants can claim for the priority date of a foreign prior IP right filed in a Unionist country. As per the period of time in which the priority right can be evoked, for patents is 12 months from the date of application, for industrial designs the deadline is 6 months from the filing date, whereas for trademarks this deadline is 6 months.

Regarding patent applications, article 17 of the Brazilian IP Law states that an application for an invention or utility model patent originally filed in Brazil, without claiming priority and not yet published, shall assure the right of priority for the subsequent application on the same subject matter filed in Brazil by the same applicant or by successors, within a period of 1 year.

As for IP developed in the course of employment or under a commission, it depends on the IP in question:

a) Inventions:
The invention and the utility model belong exclusively to the employer when they result from an employment contract being performed in Brazil and that has research or the inventive step as its object, or if such results from the nature of the services for which the employee was hired. On the other hand, the invention or the utility model developed by an employee shall belong exclusively to him, provided that it is unrelated to the employment contract and does not result from the use of resources, means, data, materials, facilities or equipment of the employer. A third option is when the invention results from the personal contribution of the employee and resources, data, means, materials, facilities or equipment of the employer, in the absence of express contract provision to the contrary – in that case, the property of the invention patent or utility model patent shall be common, in equal parts.

b) Trademarks: the first applicant to file the trademark in the BPTO will be considered the first owner, except for good faith users who, from the priority or filing date, have been using an identical or similar mark in Brazil for at least 6 (six) months to distinguish or certify an identical, similar or alike product or service, who shall have the right of preference for the registration.

c) Other creations:

  1. Copyright: First owner is the author of the work, there is no express provisions for authorship during employment. The Copyright law states, on the other hand, that joint-authorship is possible, when the work is created jointly by two or more authors, in which case both will be considered owners.

    Furthermore, there is the possibility of collective work. In that case, the economic rights in the collective work as a whole shall belong to the organizer, but Individual contributions to collective works shall benefit from protection, provided that any of the contributors may invoke his moral rights to prohibit the mention or announcement of his name in connection with the collective work without prejudice to his right to the remuneration specified by contract.

  2. Software rights: First owner is the author of the work. Unless covenanted otherwise, the employer, service contracting party or public body shall have full title over the rights associated to the software program, developed and elaborated throughout the duration of an agreement or by-law obligation, expressly intended for research and development, or in which the employee’s, service contractor’s or server’s activities are provided, or yet, which arise from the nature of the duties pertaining to said ties. The employee, service contractor or server shall have full title over the rights pertaining to a software program generated with no connection to the employment contract, service agreement or by-law obligation, and without the use of resources, technological information, trade and business secrets, materials, facilities or equipment of the employer, the company or entity with which the employer has entered into a service agreement or other similar agreements, or the service contracting party or public body.
  3. Industrial Designs: industrial design rights are also guaranteed by the first-to-file regime, provided that the Brazilian IP Law also presumes that the creator of the industrial design is the one applying for such IP right. As for Industrial Designs developed in the course of employment, the provisions applied for patents are applicable to Design rights.
  4. Integrated Circuit Topography: its creator shall be entitled to protect such IP right, provided that, as the Law states, the applicant is presumed to be its creator:
  5. Unless otherwise stipulated, the rights relating to an integrated circuit topography developed while an employment, service provision or public servant contract is in force, in which the creative activity results from the nature of the duties related to those positions or if there were use of the resources, technological information, industrial or trade secrets, materials, premises or equipment of the employer, service commissioner or employing State entity,, shall be deemed to belong to the employer, service commissioner or employing State entity.

    Rights relating to an integrated circuit topography developed without a link to an employment or service provision contract and without the use of resources, technological information, industrial or trade secrets, materials, premises or equipment of the employer, service commissioner or entity creating the public servant post, shall belong exclusively to the employee, service provider or public servant.

  6. Plant Varieties: Also applying the first-to-file regime, the natural or legal person who has bred a plant variety or an essentially derived plant variety in the country shall be entitled to protection of his property rights.

    The rights in new plant varieties and in essentially derived plant varieties developed or bred by an employee or service provider during the period of validity of the employment or service contract or in the course of another labour activity, being the result of the performance of duties or fulfilment of a contract relating to research work in Brazil, shall belong exclusively to the employer or client, but it shall be mandatory to include in the application and in the protection certificate.

    Unless expressly provided otherwise, the new plant varieties and also essentially derived plant varieties bred by the employee or provider of services or other labour activity that are not covered on those provisions, but are the result of a personal contribution and the use of resources, data, means, materials, installations or equipment belonging to the employer or client, shall belong to both parties.

  7. confidential know-how and trade secrets: Trade secrets are initially owned by the entity that holds the information and takes reasonable steps to maintain its secrecy.

Updated: November 1, 2017