Commentary

(e) Inventions, copyrights and patents

Division AII Contract of Employment
| Commentary

(e) Inventions, copyrights and patents

| Commentary

(e)     Inventions, copyrights and patents

At common law, inventions and discoveries made in the course of employment normally belonged to the employer in the absence of any agreement to the contrary: British Syphon Co Ltd v Homewood [1956] 2 All ER 897, [1956] 1 WLR 1190; Triplex Safety Glass Co Ltd v Scorah [1938] Ch 211, [1937] 4 All ER 693.

The common law here is superseded by the Patents Act 1977 ss 3942 which lay down a statutory regime regulating the ownership of and benefits from a work-related invention as between employer and employee. Section 39 states that such an invention is to belong to the employer if (1) it was made in the course of the normal duties of the employee or in the course of duties falling outside those normal duties but specifically assigned to him, and (2) an invention might reasonably be expected to result from the carrying out of his duties. Section 40 then gives a right to compensation (a 'fair share') for

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