Monday, 2 July 2012
No Right to Access to Profits for Employed Inventors - BGH "Türinnenverstärkung"
In the decision "Türinnenverstärkung" (X ZR137/07 of November 17, 2009), the Xth senate of the Federal Supreme Court BGH has overturned its establised case-law according to which the employed inventor has a claim to account for profits in order to determine his fair and adequate compensation.
The senate now judges that a right to access the annual turnover of the product concerned is sufficient to ensure the inventor's rights. The core argument is that modern inventors are engineers acquaintained with the internet and have possibilities to access informations similar to those of e.g. patent owners requesting damages to be calculated by licence analogy or owners. For the latter, no claim to access information had been granted in the past, the reason for the special role of employed inventors being that these were assumed to be humble workers with poor access to information such that complementary information was considered necessary for them to enable the assessment of the value of their invention.