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The professor's privilege

There is concern that academic exemptions from patenting laws may hinder the development of lucrative products. Edward Farrington and Richard Wolff of Valea explore the Swedish situation

In most employer-employee relationships in the majority of jurisdictions around the world employers own the rights to any intellectual property that employees generate when carrying out their work. In this way, employers secure their rights to intellectual property generated within a firm or organization without the need for special assignments or contracts regulating IP rights.

However, for a long time Swedish law has excluded academia from this principle. Researchers and academics working in colleges and universities in Sweden automatically own the right to inventions and copyright works that they produce. Decisions about whether to patent research results, how to commercialize intellectual property, and even to whom to license ideas and inventions, lie with the individual academic. Academics are exempt from the regular laws surrounding patent ownership, giving rise to the academic exemption – lärarundantaget, also known as the Professor's Privilege.

Academic freedoms The academic exemption in Sweden regarding patents...

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