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Patents - Law on Employees' Inventions - Poland

Employees' inventions are governed by the Industrial Property Law dated 30 June 2000. In general, if the invention is created in fulfillment of employee's duties, the right to the invention is vested in the employer, unless otherwise agreed by the parties of the contract. 

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-When does the law on employees' inventions apply?

Provisions on the employees' inventions apply if the invention is made in performance of an employment contract, as well as in the course of another contract, regardless of its name, which creates an employment relationship.  

Pursuant to the Polish Labor Code dated 26 June 1974, an employee (as well as civil servants who are employed by the State) is the person who performs specific work for the employer for certain remuneration,  under employer's supervision, at the place and time specified by the employer. 

The provisions on the employees' inventions do not apply if the inventions are created by: 

  • military service members
  • uniformed service members
  • prisoners in the course of work performed in prison
  • students, trainees, interns
  • volunteers
  • members of the corporate bodies
  • legal representatives
  • attorneys.

 



-Who becomes owner of employee inventions?

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties of the employment contract (or an equivalent thereof, as described above), the invention is by force of law owned by the employer if the above criteria are met. 


-Which duties do employers have in relation to employee inventions?

The employer is obliged to pay the employees remuneration for their invention unless the parties agreed otherwise. The right to claim remuneration is not dependent on the obtaining of patent protection for the invention.

The employer is not obliged to file a patent application for invention created by an employee. 



-Is the employee inventor entitled to additional remuneration?

The employee inventor is entitled to additional remuneration.  The right to additional remuneration, as well as its amount or a basis for the calculation thereof may be agreed between the employer and the employee.  If there is no agreement, remuneration is due in accordance with Industrial Property Law.  The remuneration which is not based on an agreement may be increased if the benefits gained by the employer turn out to be significantly greater than the estimated benefits taken as the basis for establishing the remuneration.

Remuneration for commercialized inventions created by academic workers in the course of their employment at public universities is provided in the Act on Higher Education dated 27 July 2005. In this case, the creator is entitled to a set percentage of the estimated benefits resulting from the commercialized inventions. 



-How is the remuneration calculated?

The provisions on employees' inventions do not provide any binding method for calculating remuneration. In general, the remuneration is provided in the agreement concluded between the employer and the employee. Under the Industrial Property Law, unless the amount of remuneration is agreed by the parties, it may be set as an equitable proportion of the undertaking's benefits from the invention, taking into account the circumstances in which the invention was made, in particular the extent of the employer's support. Unless a contract provides otherwise, the remuneration is paid in full within two months of the end of one year from the day the first benefits are gained from the invention, or in parts within two months of the end of each year from these benefits being gained, though for no longer than 5 years.


-Are contractual agreements possible?

The parties of a contract may agree as to the entitlement to the invention and as to the remuneration.


-Procedural Issues

Pursuant to the Industrial Property Law, disputes over establishing authorship to an invention, right to a patent, remuneration for using an invention and infringement of a patent are heard in civil proceedings.

In case the dispute as to the entitlement to the invention is heard in civil proceedings, patent application procedure before the Polish Patent Office is suspended. 

The creator of an invention may bring claims for remuneration for use of his/her invention before a regional court. In this case, the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure on proceedings in cases involving employee claims are applicable.



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