The manner in which intellectual property (“IP”) is regulated within the employment context is of paramount importance to employers, particularly those developing new products, software and new techonologies or processes. Employers will want to ensure that they own any and all IP rights avoiding possible tension with employees who may consider turn their idea into a start up.
The Copyright Act (Cap. 415 of the Laws of Malta) seeks to protect the creation of author’s original works, which includes softwares, litererary or artistic works irrespective of the fact that the person might have been employed, engaged or otherwise commissioned to carry out the work. However by way of excpetion, the Copyright Act, states that in the case of computer programs and databases is made by an employee in the course of employment, their employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work subject to any agreement between the parties excluding or limiting such transfer. In respect of other works eligible for copyright, in such circumstances, subject to any agreement ot the contrary between the parties, the copyright shall always vest in the author.
Employment contracts tend to include provisions where employees give up their authorship rights over the work they have authored for their employee and relinquish moral rights (such as the right to be identified as an author/creator of a copyright work).
The Patents and Designs Act (Cap, 417 of the Laws of Malta) holds that inventions made in the execution of a contract of employment, belong, in the absence of contractual provisions to the persons who commissioned the work or to the employer and not to the inventor.
Employers must be careful to give their inventor employees the appropriate remuneration for their work, as Courts may intervene and award additional remuneration to an employed inventor when taking into account the inventor’s salary, the economic value of the invention and any benefit which is derived therefrom by the employer.
Inventorship rights such as the right to be mentioned as inventor of a patent cannot be transferred and can only be waived.
The Patents and Designs Act provides that a special written declaration addressed to the Comptroller of Industrial Property is necessary for the inventor’s name not to be mentioned.
At Empleo, we can help employees navigate through the legal framework protecting IP rights within the context of employment and beyond.
Some of our services in this area include the following:
You may get in touch with us here to request an initial free legal consultation in relation to any of the matters outlined above.
Mariella graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in law in 2005. She completed a master’s degree in ‘European Private Law’ from the La Sapienza, University of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in Malta in 2006.
Mariella is a people person – and it is this attribute which has really characterised and shaped her career.
Over the years, she headed the legal departments of several corporate services firms. Due to her skillset, she was also entrusted with managing and overseeing operations and human resources, where she gained technical and practical experience in various corporate, commercial and employment matters.
Her practical hands-on experience and insight perfectly complement Mariella’s technical knowledge of employment law, thus placing her in an ideal position to understand and advise employers and employees alike on various matters that may arise at the workplace.
Mariella is passionate about employment law matters and provides her clients with the highest-quality legal service to achieve the best possible outcome and resolve any employment law related issues and concerns.
Bradley graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006. He advises clients on various corporate, commercial, employment and regulatory matters, with particular focus on company and financial services law.
He has assisted clients in various corporate and commercial matters by providing company law advice and assisting in the implementation of corporate finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and similar transactions.
Bradley has also advised and assisted investment funds, fund managers and other investment services providers, banks and financial institutions, on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the setting up, authorisation and ongoing conduct of their activities in Malta.
His practice also covers general employment law matters. Bradley’s experience in company and financial services law enables him to focus on various corporate and regulatory aspects of employment relationships. In particular, he advises organisations on the implementation of employee share option and participation schemes, the implications of business transfers on employment relationships, as well as relations with senior employees.
Karl graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006.
Karl has gained considerable expertise in technology law and regularly assists clients in relation to intellectual property issues, commercial contracts and ways to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy laws. Whilst such matters used to be only given incidental importance when dealing with employment matters, they are now widely acknowledged to be vital in all employment relationships.
He is also regularly engaged by C-level executives to assist in negotiating employment contracts and settlement agreements.
Karl advises across a multitude of industries including technology; marketing; adtech; financial services; gaming; esports; consumer products; and media and telecommunications.