On 12 December 2022, the Supreme Court published decision 3436/2022 in a case involving a number of patents registered in the name of the head company of a group of worldwide importance in the industrial chemical sector and concerning important inventions made by an employee of the group’s Italian subsidiary.

Our firm assisted the employee inventor and the Supreme Court upheld our arguments, which had already been accepted by the Supreme Tribunal and the Court of Appeal of Milan, in application of the regulation of employee inventions pursuant to Article 64 of the Italian Civil Code.

First of all, it confirmed that the obligation to pay the employee inventor a reeasonable reward pursuant to Article 64 of the Italian Civil Code remains with the employer, regardless of whether the invention is circulated within the group, i.e., even if it is patented by other companies in the same group.

It also reaffirmed the principle that the existence of exclusive rights on the invention excludes the employer’s legitimacy to challenge its patenting requirements in order to evade the obligation to pay the equitable bonus.  And again, on the subject of limitation, it reaffirmed that, in the case of patented inventions, the right to the reasonable reward is time-barred from the date of the granting of the patents.