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Intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights (IPR) apply to patents, distinctive features (trademarks, company names and domain names), design rights and copyright. This has important links to marketing regulations (the Norwegian Marketing Practices Act), competition law and rules on the free flow of goods, etc. in the single market. Harris can assist with registration of rights, contract management, consultancy and dispute resolution. Some areas of this legal field must comply with EU law, which can require checking against directives etc.

Contact persons

Examples of cases Harris has worked on:

  • Employees (as opposed to their employers) are sometimes given intellectual property rights to their inventions and intellectual works. We have assessed this issue on a number of occasions, including in relation to the Norwegian Employee Inventions Act. We also advise on this issue in connection with entering into employment contracts.
  • Whether a patent blocks the marketing and sale of a product is a question that relates both to formal control (such as whether the patent has expired) and to an assessment of whether the patent has actually already been encroached (analysis of the so-called patent requirements). An example of this is patent protection for a measuring instrument for oil extraction.
  • Registration and maintenance of trademarks applies to the wordmarks, figuremarks and combined marks. In addition to the practical matters, Harris has assisted with assessing the conditions for registration, such as whether a particular term can actually be registered as a trademark, which is typically a matter of whether it is distinctive enough (distinctiveness requirement). The same assessments have been carried out in relation to company names. Disputes are often brought before the Norwegian Business Competition Committee (Næringslivets konkurranseutvalg).
  • The obligation to use a trademark, company name and domain name means that it can be lost when it is no longer “used” enough. The situation remains unresolved in respect of domain names.
  • We have also undertaken several assessments regarding whether a design has been copied, and in one case brought the matter before the court (the case was settled). Such disputes will rely on an interpretation of both the Norwegian Designs Act and the Norwegian Marketing Control Act.

It makes sense to regulate the intellectual property rights in many contracts. We have provided assistance on this on numerous occasions. Licensing of technology (IPR) also raises questions about how far you can go in relation to competition law, the single market, etc. Harris has also assisted with negotiations concerning licensing agreements, both for national and international markets.

We have also assisted with disputes before the courts, including several before the Supreme Court of Norway.

At Harris, attorney (H) Pål Magne Bakka and attorney (H) Tor Lars Onarheim are our contacts in this field. Bakka has extensive expertise in EU law. Onarheim’s 30 years of experience includes two cases before the Supreme Court in this area of the law. Both of them have extensive experience in providing assistance in this legal field, including on behalf of manufacturing and technology companies.