A court decision concerning the “reasonable value” received by an employee as compensation for employee inventions is again in the spotlight in Japan.
Patent Law Article 35 provides that when the employer asserts a right to file an application for an employee invention, achieved by acts categorised as a present or past duty of the employee, the employer should pay reasonable value to the employee in accordance with an agreement, employment regulation or any other stipulation.
In 2004, in a lawsuit initiated by Professor Shuji Nakamura against Nichia Corporation, the court decided that Nichia should pay ¥20 billion ($245 million) to Professor Nakamura as compensation for the invention of the blue-colour light-emitting diode.
At that time, ex-employees of big companies also brought actions against their ex-employers, claiming compensation for inventions in cases including ‘aspartame’ against Ajinomoto Co., Inc. and ‘optical disk’ against Hitachi, Ltd. The court ordered both companies to pay their ex-employees substantial compensation for their inventions.
Inventions, Patent Law