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Employee creations: contracts as a tool prevent disputes

In an article published in “La Semaine Juridique – Social” (Lexis Nexis), the leading employment law weekly journal, Sabine de Paillerets, partner in the Employment Law department, and Gaëlle Bloret-Pucci, partner in the Intellectual Property Law department, discuss the lack of a uniform legal regime applicable to all employee creations. Their analysis shows that contracts are an invaluable tool for taking the necessary proactive actions.

According to the French Industrial Property Institute (INPI), 90% of patented inventions are created by employees. Companies are therefore a major forum for innovation and the development of innovative companies in many business sectors, for example, the increasingly frequent use of artificial intelligence, confirms such observation. Patentable innovations are not the only creations concerned because employees may be considered as “authors”, “programmers” or “creators.” Consequently, preventing disputes and striking the right balance between the rights of employers and employees are now major issues for companies. Because different principles underlie the protection of intellectual property rights, there is no uniform legal regime applicable to employee creations governing the transfer of rights such creations. These regimes vary depending on the nature of the creation: for example, the law distinguishes between employee creations that are protectable under author’s rights, creations that are considered software or designs, and inventions covered by patent law.

Semaine juridique 4/05/2021– N°18

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