Information to managers
Encouraging managers are an important factor when it comes to encouraging employees to contribute to innovation. This is reported by researchers and clinicians from the University of Oslo and the health trust under the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. The line manager also has an important responsibility to help to ensure that the agreed deliveries are made, and that the employee complies with the employer’s guidelines and meets his/her obligations.
When an agreement is drawn up by Inven2, the line manager can rest assured that the agreement has been prepared on behalf of the employer and can be signed without further legal assessment. However, it is important that the line manager reviews and approves the use of resources and milestones that the employee commits to.
Employees’ duty to submit their inventions
It is the individual employee’s responsibility to submit ideas for innovations and inventions to Inven2. According to Norwegian legislation, the employer owns the invention. Doctoral students and postdoctoral research fellows are considered to be employees, while other students own their own ideas.
Ideas and work that result in innovations are submitted to Inven2 as a ‘Disclosure of Invention’ (DOFI). The DOFI form can be found here. Inven2 is open to a meeting before the DOFI is submitted, and we would like to enter the innovation process as early as possible. See more information here.
Publication and patenting
The Act respecting the Right to Employees’ Inventions entitles the employee to publish their own work results relating to an invention in a scientific journal. It is important to include information about any publication plans when the invention is submitted.
The employee must also clarify that publication will not stand in the way of obtaining a patent for the invention. (read more on this below patenting) When it comes to publication, patenting rarely delays the publication process. Inven2 will safeguard the employees’ right to publish in the agreements with industry.
The three-way model for income and expenses
The employees of the University of Oslo and the health trust under the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority who submit an invention to Inven2 that is commercialised, receive a third of future income, and the employer and Inven2 also receive a third of the income each.
The employer often invests a significant amount of their share in new research and innovation in the inventor team. Inven2’s third goes towards promoting innovation and commercialisation of new inventions, as the owners do not take out dividends from Inven2.
This three-way model is the funding model the owners have chosen for Inven2. The model entails that the commercialisations that generate income will contribute to paying for the efforts of those who do not succeed.
Most of Inven2’s work in the innovation projects are covered hour by hour by grants awarded by the public funding agencies to the individual innovation projects. Inven2’s expenses relating to patents and other accrued expenses that are not covered by the innovation projects, can be deducted from the commercialisation income.
Evaluation of the invention
Inven2 must over the course of four months decide whether we want to establish an innovation project based on the invention or not. Inven2 prefers to decide more quickly, ideally within two months. Read more here. If an invention is unclear or lacks data, Inven2 must wait to make a decision until all the necessary information is available.
If Inven2 chooses not to proceed to the commercialisation phase, the employer and employee will be informed of this and the ownership of the idea will be transferred back to the inventor. Read more about the criteria by which we assess the invention here.
The inventor is then the owner of the invention and can develop it with a view to introducing it on the market. Whether the idea can be developed as a second engagement for the employee then becomes a case for discussion between the employee and the employer. The employer’s guidelines place limitations on the employee’s possibility of developing a private idea with the help of the employer’s resources.
Further development of the invention
One or several of the inventors must normally take an active role in the earliest development phase of the innovation project. They must contribute to acquiring more data to verify that the invention is good and make the invention worth investing in for investors or industry. This can best be done in the environments where the invention comes from.
Together with the inventor and employer, Inven2 will apply for funding for the innovation projects through innovation grants from the Research Council Norway, the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority or the University of Oslo. Inven2’s work on patenting, business development and project management to ensure progress in the innovation project must be covered by these funds.
License or start-up company?
The inventor receives a third of the license income, which can comprise both milestone payments and royalties. Inventors do not run any personal financial risk during the project, and can receive a third of the future income. If the right thing to do is to start a company to develop the innovation, this should be done by Inven2.
The initial share capital is divided in proportion to who contributes to the establishment of the company and who will contribute in future.
The inventor has the right to a third of the initial share capital that falls to Inven2. Inven2 negotiates the inventor’s share with other investors and entrepreneurs, if relevant. The inventor can invest in the company in the same way as others in connection with later share issues. Normally, an incentive system is established for key personnel that are important for the development of the company. Such systems are decided by the start-up company’s board and general meeting.
The inventor can also establish a company if his/her employer allows him/her to have a secondary engagement. It is then the inventor who divides the initial share capital and negotiates with investors and other contributors. In both cases, the start-up company is required to be able to document sufficient resources in the form of access to competent management and financing to develop innovation with a view to introducing it on the market.