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transfer of liability on company takeover

Re: transfer of liability on company takeover

Postby adviceseeker » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:30 pm

I have found an article which suggests that the employment relationship at the time of claim isnt critical & indicates that any benefit gained by the associated company can be treated as the benefit gained by the employer. Again I would appreciate any further comments on the interpretation of this:

The court ordered GE Healthcare to pay compensation of £1.5 million to two of its ex-employees ....
The case concerns Unilever and a retired employee Professor Shanks. The patent was transferred to a Unilever subsidiary for £220,000 but went on to earn the subsidiary company £23 million in royalties. Unilever voiced the argument that the court should look at what it got for the patent not what the associated company received. However the court determined that it is not possible for an employer to evade its duty to pay compensation to an inventor employee by transferring the rights in the invention to another associated company, for a nominal amount.
This case makes it clear that any benefit gained by the associated company can be treated as the benefit gained by the employer.
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Re: transfer of liability on company takeover

Postby atticus » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:34 pm

Please cite cases by name, and , if possible, Court and year.
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Re: transfer of liability on company takeover

Postby dls » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:03 am

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Re: transfer of liability on company takeover

Postby atticus » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:37 pm

I observe, by reference to para. 5 of that judgment, that s40(1) Patents Act 1977 requires an application to be made within the "prescribed period". S 40(6) says this is the period prescribed by rules of court, and I have not been able to track that through.

Is the OP sure he is not out of time to bring a claim?
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Re: transfer of liability on company takeover

Postby adviceseeker » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:13 pm

I will revisit the statute but from memory the prescribed period is any time between the granting of the UK patent and one year after the expiry or abandonment of the patent.
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Re: transfer of liability on company takeover

Postby dls » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:51 am

Doesn't the case suggest that this is simply a debt of the employer company. That debt remains with that company.

To answer your question you need access to he document assigning the patent, but you start on the basis that the original company remains liable. If it assigned the patent, then it is a matter for them as to whether they took an indemnity from the assignee. They would soon say if they were not liable.

A patents attorney is the right place to get a proper answer.
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